In the incident of the adulterous woman if at all there were to be just one to throw first there would have been many to follow and she would have been killed. All in the crowd would have joined in the communal act of killing. Even the listeners of Jesus in the temple, the so-call good people, good Christians, would have joined then because she was a public sinner and so should die. This was the law. Has law changed ever since?

For an answer, just watch the court cases today in our country and in all countries, watch the media trials, news analyses, reactions of the victims, their families, and even the unaffected bystanders, the public. Of course, the judges cannot be as Jesus was because they are paid to judge. In spite of Christianity’s existence for two thousand and more years, of the gospels still being proclaimed all over the world among the Christians and to the ‘Gentiles’, of the large number of conversions taking place, and in spite of “the Our Father” being prayed by every believing Christian if not every day, quite often, the sinner/offender legally gets a pardon neither from the legal system nor from the descendants of the groups in the temple with Jesus, which today include ‘the good Christians’ also!

In the early days of my priesthood I happened to manage a publication in which I published an article dealing with the love and unconditional forgiveness of God the Father. I got heavy condemnation from the clergy and ardent believers. Their argument was that if you present God the Father not as a judge ready to condemn, in addition to the great increase in sin people would stop coming for confession. I still believe that I was not wrong, but they too were right!

Few make confessions these days. Definitely sin has increased, many acts considered sin in those days are no more so and many do not have any sense of shame or compunction for acts which were counted sin and shameful; in fact, some such acts have become heroic and are celebrated in the streets and in the media.  Fo example, pornography is a new item that crops up in confession these times, which is a big business promoted, sold and celebrated today.

However, most priests today preach and proclaim loud about the unconditional forgiveness and love of the Father. The main theme of Pope Francis’ proclamation is mercy, forgiveness and love of God. We are inclined to feel with St. Paul: “where sin increased Grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20b). This was what Jesus said to that woman, “Neither do I condemn you, go in peace. He also said, “And do not sin again”.

Fr. George