Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’ (John 8:10-11)
Pope Francis has declared this as the year of Mercy. This story helps to explain why. To be merciful is to more closely follow Jesus. Leviticus 20:10 states that both the man and the woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death – yet the focus in this story is solely on the woman, begging questions of the reader. There are those who construe mercy as being ‘soft’. Jesus transcends the Law by not condemning the woman – nor does he accept her behaviour – directing her to ‘not sin again’.
Young and old alike – we can be inclined to judge others. So the way of mercy can seem counterintuitive. Yet if we reflect upon times when we have seen or shown mercy – people grow, relationships are strengthened and communities are built. As educators we can set a powerful example of mercy to the young people in our care. As Pope John XXXIII said, ‘We must always try to speak to the goodness that is in people. Nothing is lost in the attempt.’
Have a great week….term and year!