Reflection by Holly Novotny
Today’s Gospel: John 8:1-11
In this passage, the mercy of Jesus is coupled with a command to change behavior. Not only does He direct the woman to a life of virtue, but even before that, He calls on the crowd to examine their own lives — and surprisingly, they do. The scene is an entrapment: the crowd has gathered to test Jesus’ commitment to follow the law of Moses, hoping to catch Him in defiance. Yet Jesus reveals His merciful heart without condemnation for any of them. He extends forgiveness while encouraging an examination of conscience. Isn’t that the way of a good teacher and mentor?
When I was a young adult, my mother-in-law was heartbroken by some of the decisions I was making, but instead of calling me out on my foolish behavior, she encouraged me to embrace my newfound faith and helped me to learn what holiness and virtue looked like. She didn’t do it by teaching me as much as by being a witness of loving generosity and humility. With every act of mercy and love, she revealed the truth of what I deserved in a relationship, and ultimately, her example helped me to begin to embrace what the Lord had written for my life. I had to be the one to accept God’s mercy and to make changes in the way I was living, embracing love and sacrifice and healing, but those are ultimately gifts freely given by the Lord (or His faithful ones.)
The world says we deserve the consequences of our sins, but in a life of grace Jesus quietly rewrites our future, drawing us to repentance and virtue, restoring us to dignity and freedom.
What is the stone in my hand that the Lord wants me to see and lay down?
Lord, help to me to run to You, to accept Your forgiveness and to embrace greater virtue. Give me the grace to repent, confident that Your mercy is enough.
Copyright 2020 Holly Novotny
Holly Novotny is a wife and mother of two young adult daughters, as of today, Ana’s birthday. The Lord’s mercy and grace continue to transform her into His original plan, much to her astonishment and joy. She is a Lifetime Marian Servant and as a graduate of the Cenacle School of Spirituality offers spiritual direction in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
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