In one of the recent Gospel readings this week we hear of the account of how a crowd had gathered to condemn a woman accused of adultery. The crowd were demanding “instant justice” and were planning to stone her. Jesus challenged whoever was without sin to cast the first stone. Slowly one by one the crowd dispersed and the stones dropped to the ground. He gently offered his forgiveness and told her to turn away from the areas of her life that led her in the wrong direction.
This is a great message for us. Put simply we need to learn to love and forgive.
A few questions for the week ahead…
- What can you do to use the power of forgiveness to rebuild relationships?
- How can we stop ourselves from being too quick to judge?
- What is it we can ask God (or others…) to forgive us of?
If we can take this small step, to drop the stone, say sorry or move on in our lives surely it can be good for us all too.
Have a happy and liberating journey this week as we prepare for the celebration of Holy Week.
There is something very natural and human for us to look to judge others… maybe it is a simplistic way for us to feel better, briefly, about ourselves. We can feel that we in a small way are more worthy than those we have judged or that we have made better choices than them. This may be a flawed approach to build ourselves up by putting others down.
In the Gospel account this week we hear of Jesus’ defence of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus had come to the Temple and was challenged to pass judgement on her and publicly condemn her. Instead of doing this He challenged them to look inside their hearts to see if they were without sin. Anyone without sin should throw the first stone of condemnation. Slowly one by one the stones were dropped as the crowd disappeared… Jesus went on to show compassion, love and forgiveness saying “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?… Neither do I condemn you… go away and do not sin any more.” In this He forgave unconditionally but challenged her to make a real change in her life.
This has a very real message for us in our relationships and the world we live in today. We need to resist the temptation to judge or condemn others. A key aspect of this is to ensure that we can see beyond the human failings that we all have and listen to God’s call for us to turn away from sin or selfishness in our lives.
If we can do this maybe we can look to heal broken relationships and build our happiness based on how well we live our lives rather than looking to compare ourselves to others. Our theme of the week of “Fresh Start” leads us to recognise that this new beginning is offered by God and we can do the same to those we meet in our lives each and every day.
This week our theme is about reconciliation and is based in the beautiful account of the parable of the Prodigal or Lost Son. What can we take from this during this season of Lent?
The parable has a real resonance as an account rich in its humanity… all of us at times can be lost in our lives, whether for a short moment or a whole chapter of life. We can find ourselves at a distance from those we love most, our faith or from God in some way. The story narrates to us the very normal and human tendency to be tempted to make decisions based on our love of a very short term pleasure or hedonistic motivation.
What would these be for you?
- A temptation to want more in our lives?
- The lure of money or possessions?
- The temptation to try and do things to be popular rather than do what’s right?
- The attraction of power and status?
All of us could, to a greater our lesser extent, see how we have been drawn, like moths to the lights, by one or more of these things. We have an opportunity to make a change or choice to do the right thing and the parable of the Prodigal Son challenges us to do just this.
How can we do this?
- We can look to heal broken relationships one small step at a time. Sometimes making the first move is all it will take (even if we think we were in the right!)
- We can aim to “live simply” in some way – could we give some of our possessions, great or small to others?
- We can look to stick to what is right, however challenging or unpopular this may be. This may be simply being true to your faith or core beliefs when being challenged.
- We can empower others and take a deep rooted joy in being them take the lead or credit for something we have been a part of.
Even in writing these suggestions I find a smile on my face and can feel how worthwhile some of these small steps may be. As we hear in the parable even if we are at life’s lowest ebb if we stop to think and listen we can hear God’s call for us. God, like the father, will be longing and waiting for us to set off on that journey. The journey back to his loving arms… May be time to get packing!