Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Daniel 13:1-9.15-17.19-30.33-62; John 8:1-11)
Last week the State of Texas executed another criminal. The man was a serial killer who victimized young girls. Who but a Jesus could have taken mercy on him?
But isn’t this the point of the gospel? Does it not urge Jesus’ followers to become like him? In today’s reading Jesus pardons the woman caught in adultery. It should not be thought that Jesus is just another liberal ready to excuse sexual misconduct as inconsequential. He makes no attempt to invalidate the law (Leviticus 20:10) which demands that adulterers be put to death. Rather he looks at the woman as a child of God who, like everyone else, stands in need of mercy.
This does not mean that we are to excuse serious offenses and least of all murder. In justice criminal activity must be corrected and criminals must compensate for their crimes. Jesus’ example, however, does oblige us to treat offenders with love by seeking amiable ways to reconcile them with society.