It was probably embarrassing enough for the women who was “in full view of everybody” to be lectured to. In a very compassionate act, Jesus doesn’t begin to preach about right from wrong, but simply tells all those who had gathered to “go away, and don’t sin any more”.
Today’s first reading from Isaiah reminds us that there is “no need to recall the past”. How often do we bring up old grievances when we have been hurt? Instead, we are called to turn the tides; to move on in our lives and let go of those things that have held us back from being the best versions of ourselves. Every one of us – without exception – comes before our God at the Eucharistic table in need of compassion in search of a fresh start. And just like the woman in today’s Gospel, we are given the grace to move on with our lives thanks to the mercy of our loving God.
Many of us might also resonate with the scribes and Pharisees who go away with their tail between their legs at Jesus’ less than subtle message about looking inwards before attacking the faults of others. But I wonder how many of us position ourselves in the place of the absent male accomplice. When might we have sinned, not through our actions but our inactions? Have we been so preoccupied with other tasks that we have failed to spend time with God this week? Have we been so consumed with our ordinary, everyday responsibilities that we have neglected to look inwardly this Lenten season? How might we use this last week of Lent to prepare for the journey to the cross?
Now is not too late, for God does not condemn us, but invites us.