Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more

Wouldn’t you love to know what happened to this woman after she left Jesus that unforgettable day?   John doesn’t tell us.    In fact, we almost never learn what happened to people in the Gospels after Jesus healed or forgave them.   But these were real people who probably lived many years after their encounter with him.   So let’s try to imagine what happened next for this woman.

Jesus’ refusal to condemn her must have affected her to the core.   His act of mercy saved her life, not just physically, but spiritually as well. Maybe she was so grateful to Jesus that she became one of his followers.   Maybe she went back to her husband to be reconciled.   One thing we can’t imagine is that she went back to living the way she had in the past.

This is what happens when we have an encounter with God’s mercy.   Our gratitude for what Jesus has done for us leads us to follow him more closely.   It softens our heart and helps us be more merciful toward other people.   And we receive the grace that strengthens us against further temptation to sin.

Do you want to have this kind of encounter?   It’s yours for the asking!   The words Jesus spoke to this woman are essentially the same words the priest says to us in Confession:   “I absolve you from your sins.”   Even if you feel as if other people are condemning you, even if you are condemning yourself, Jesus doesn’t condemn you.   He forgives you.   He saves you.

Over these next two weeks, take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered at your parish or one nearby to go to Confession.   Let Jesus’ mercy set you free.   Then spend the remaining days leading up to Easter thanking him for loving you so much.   Let your gratitude move you to follow your Savior even more closely—and to be just as merciful to the people around you as he is to you.

Word Among Us