Vatican City ( AsiaNews)
- The mercy of God is "a great light, of love, of tenderness" and
God's forgiveness is a "caress", on "our wounds of sin". This
was Pope Francis message in his homily at the Mass in Casa Santa Marta,
commenting on the Gospel story of the adulteress, where the scribes and
Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and ask him what to do,
law of Moses provides for stoning.
"Marriage - Pope Francis said - is a human reality but it is also a symbol of a faithful relationship between God and his people". When the marriage is spoilt by adultery, he continued, it spoils the relationship with God. But when the scribes and the Pharisees ask Jesus "what do you say?" they do so to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against Him. "If Jesus had said: 'Yes, go ahead and have her stoned', they would have told the people 'this is your good and merciful master... just look at what he has done to this poor woman!' And if Jesus had said: 'Poor woman! Forgive her!' they would have said: 'He does not observe the Law!'. They did not care ...about the woman, or the adulterers, maybe one of them was an adulterer ... they did not care! They only cared about trapping Jesus". Hence the Lord's answer: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her'. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.
So one can imagine - the Pope observed - that their own records were not that straight".
"So Jesus was left alone with the woman before him and said to her: 'woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' It is just you and I, alone before God, without accusations, without gossip. You and God! No one has condemned you. She replied: 'No one, sir'". But Pope Francis said: "she does not say it was a false accusation! She does not say'I have not committed adultery'. She recognizes her sin. "Then Jesus said: 'Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore,' do not offend God again; do not spoil the beautiful relationship between God and his people".
"Jesus forgives" - the Pope said - "but here there is something that goes beyond forgiveness." "Jesus goes beyond the law. He does not say: 'adultery is not a sin!' But he does not condemn it according to law". This - the Pope said - "is the mystery of mercy. It is the mystery of the mercy of Jesus".
"Mercy is difficult to understand". "'But, Father, does compassion erase one's sins?'. 'No, what erases sins is the forgiveness of God. 'Mercy is the way that God forgives, this is why Jesus could say, 'I forgive you. Go!', as he said to the paralytic, who had led him to the roof: 'your sins are forgiven. It says here: 'Go in peace'. Jesus goes further. He advises them not to sin again. Here we see the merciful attitude of Jesus. Her defends the sinner from her enemies, he defends the sinner from a just condemnation. We too, how many of us , maybe we should go to hell, how many of us? and that's a just the condemnation and ... he goes beyond forgiveness. How? With this mercy".
"Mercy goes beyond in such a way that sin is put to the side. It is like heaven. We look at the sky, there are many, many stars; but when the sun rises in the morning, the light is such that we can't see the stars. God's mercy is like that: a great light of love and tenderness. God forgives us, not with a decree, but with his love, healing the wounds of sin. Because He is involved in forgiveness, He is involved in our salvation. So when Jesus acts as confessor to the woman he does not humiliate her, he does not say: 'What have you done? When did you do it? How did you do it? With whom did you do it?' No! He says: 'Go and do not sin again!'. God's mercy is great, Jesus's mercy is great. Forgive us and heal us!"