Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Go, and sin no more": Forgiveness is a Person and Being Forgiven is a Relationship

What is love?  What is compassion?  There are many answers to this question especially today when so many people value re-defining the world in ever expanding ways.  Even the love unique to the family born of the union between one man and one woman has been subjected by so many to attempted re-definition.

Here in this place we do something unlike the many who define the world as an extension of themselves and of their own ideas: here, in this place which is the house of God and where God is in charge, we let God define Himself, His gifts, His love.  God gives life and has something to say about that beautiful gift and the way in which it is to be lived which He has given to all of us.

In today’s Gospel we learn that God’s love is expressed in such a way as to reach all of us.  Because all of us are sinners His love must be given as forgiveness.  And this love and forgiveness has a name, the name of Jesus Christ.
So forgiveness is a Person.

Jesus does not simply tell the woman caught in adultery that her sin no longer has power over her, a dreaded power experienced as fear, or self-loathing, or dire results which perhaps may even include final death.  He says “Your sins are forgiven you” but then He also adds something else which reveals the way in which He invites this woman to live without the weight of the power of shame, self-loathing or condemnation by God or others.  First He refers to Himself, saying, "Neither do I condemn you" and then he adds, “sin no more”.

Are these merely parting words, as if the Lord says, “Have a good day", or “Goodbye”.  For the man or woman who discovers in forgiveness the person of Jesus Christ these are, in fact, words of invitation: “in Me, the One who has the power to forgive, discover the way to sin no more.”  God gives Himself as the way of living in holiness which is the absence of evil or sin.

Forgiveness is not a thing but a Divine Person, who calls us and invites us into a relationship with Himself.

When we fall in the most serious ways and need to get up again, He gives Himself as perfect, compassionate love through forgiveness in the confessional.  For sustainment in the graced relationship built up and growing day by day He offers Himself in the Holy Eucharist.  He expresses His Eucharistic Presence in us through a life of prayer and service, the embrace of our families and others in mutual servanthood, in humble acceptance of the other.

Jesus Christ is the Divine Person who both has the power to forgive sins and restore our freedom and to grant in Himself the way of life which is "sinning no more".  We cannot accept His forgiveness without also accepting He who forgives.  Forgiveness is a Person so being forgiven is a relationship.

1 comment:

Number 9 said...

i love this. thank you.