Jesus mingled with sinners throughout His earthly life. He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He held a conversation with a Samaritan woman by the well. A woman who have had five husbands and was living with someone who was not even her husband. Even at the very point of death upon the cross, He promised paradise to the repentant thief.
But while all of these things show Christ’s mercy, perhaps the most striking account was the moment He met with the woman caught in adultery.
It was then when the scribes and the Pharisees tested Him with the very law of Moses:
“If there is a young woman, a virgin who is betrothed, and a man comes upon her in the city and lies with her, you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the young woman because she did not cry out though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.” – Deuteronomy 22:23-24 (NABRE)
The very act of adultery was evil in itself. There was no mention of an excuse. The woman was deemed to be in violation of the law.
But what the woman received from Jesus was neither condemnation nor death. It was Divine Mercy.
“A woman and Jesus meet. She is an adulteress and, in the eyes of the Law, liable to be stoned. Jesus, through his preaching and the total gift of himself that would lead him to the Cross, returned the Mosaic Law to its true and original intent. Here what is central is not the law or legal justice, but the love of God, which is capable of looking into the heart of each person and seeing the deepest desire hidden there; God’s love must take primacy over all else. This Gospel account, however, is not an encounter of sin and judgement in the abstract, but of a sinner and her Saviour. Jesus looked that woman in the eye and read in her heart a desire to be understood, forgiven and set free. The misery of sin was clothed with the mercy of love.” – Misericordia et Misera (Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis)
If you ever feel as though your sins are too great to be forgiven, think about Jesus and the woman He saved. Many people may accuse you. And you may even start to believe that there is no hope for you to be right again with God.
But that is just not true. Only one’s persistent refusal to accept His forgiveness could ever make any person lose sight of heaven.
So even if you think you committed a mortal sin, and even if you hear people saying you deserve to be stoned to death, you should still put your hope in the mercy of God.
“Write this for the benefit of distressed souls: when a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother…Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame.” — Jesus to St. Faustina (Divine Mercy In My Soul, 1541)
Never ever forget that your sins could never be greater than the infinite Mercy of Jesus Christ.
“Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
…No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.”
John 8:10-11 (DRA)