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Be a Grace-Giver.

We Want to See Jesus.
April 5, 2021
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April 5, 2021
PITIK-BULAG: Be a Grace-Giver.
 
Our gospel today reminds us not to judge others. While it is good to examine our intentions in all our actions, we should be more discreet when doing the same for others. Any judgment which is not based on facts, motivations, and intentions is prone to error. We need to be aware of our emotions, biases, and prejudices. If we are not conscious of their influence in our decision-making, this may lead us to a hasty judgment. We might end up falsely accusing others.
 
In our gospel today, the Pharisees angrily brought the “adulterous” woman to Jesus, hoping that he would condemn her to death by stoning. But Jesus knew their hideous intentions, said, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
 
The Pharisees were caught in surprise for two reasons: First, nobody among them was blameless in God’s eyes. Second, in the Mosaic Law, only the principal witnesses have the right to cast the first stone. Nobody dared to throw the first stone because no one of them saw the woman having an illicit affair. So they dropped the stone and left in shame.
 
On the other hand, Jesus has the right to judge the woman but spared her. When everybody left, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:11) The guilty woman was ready to receive her due punishment from Jesus. But it never came. Instead, she received forgiveness and was encouraged not to sin again. God disposes of mercy (not wrath) to the remorseful and repentant sinner. When God thinks of us, He thinks of saving and giving us life, and not condemning us to eternal death.
 
The Pharisees saw the sin of the woman. Hatred ruled their hearts. They wanted to deliver punishment. On the other hand, Jesus saw a helpless person trapped in her sin, begging for help and longing for forgiveness. And Jesus gave her what she wanted: Mercy. The mercy she received from Jesus was enough for her to reform her life. Jesus came not to judge but to save, so “that we may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). He came into the world to give us another chance to fix our lives and seek lasting things.
 
In another confrontation with the Pharisees, they protested when Jesus dined with Matthew, a tax collector. “Why does your teacher eat with sinners?” (Matthew 9:11). But Jesus said, “Those who are not sick does not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.” (Matthew. 9:12-13). In deep gratitude, Matthew became an ardent disciple of Jesus. Jesus is inviting us to hate the sin, but not the sinners.
 
Until now, I still remember the words of a death row prisoner (now an inmate catechist) in New Bilibid Prison, “Sa totoo lang Pads, wala naman akong planong magbago, pero nang makita kong meron pa ring nagmamahal sa aming mga bilanggo, tulad ninyong ng mga prison volunteers. Nahiya ako sa sarili ko at sa inyo. Naisip ko, kung kaya nila akong patawarin at hindi husgahan, lalo na ang Diyos na mapagmahal. Ito ang nagtulak sa akin upang tuluyan akong magbago.”
This Lenten Season, let’s be slow or avoid judging others. We are all sinners. God alone has the right to judge for He knows us well. Drop that stone from your hands. We are capable of doing greater things than throwing rocks at each other. Our hands should lead sinners back to the fold of God. Instead of throwing rocks at each other, let us seek our lost brothers and sisters. Save sinners and give life. This is what God wants from us. After all, we are also sinners.
 
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
– Mother Theresa of Calcutta
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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March 22, 2021 – Monday
Gospel Reading: John 8: 1-11

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