No matter what, we can become new creatures.
Today, the three year anniversary of his election as Pope, Pope Francis urged faithful in St. Peter’s to realize this during his Angelus address at noon.
Reflecting on today’s Gospel from St. John which presents the story of the woman caught in adultery, the Pope stressed that Jesus was able to undermine the trap set up for him.
While the people were ready to stone her for violating the law, his challenge to them, namely, he who is without sin cast the first stone, forces them to abandon their condemnation of her. Jesus then tells the woman that neither He condemns her and to go and to sin no more.
Letting it go
“How well it does for us to recognize we are sinners!” the Pope said, asking: “When we speak badly of others – all things that we know well – do we have the courage to drop the stones on the ground that we have ready to throw at others, and think a bit about our sins?!”
He noted that in the Gospel only the woman and Jesus remained there, symbolizing misery and mercy facing each other, just as what happens to us in front of the confessional.
“His eyes full of mercy, full of love, make that person feel – perhaps for the first time – that she has a dignity, that she is not her sin, but has the dignity of a person; that she can change her life, can exit from her bondage and walk in a new way.”
Francis told those gathered that this woman represents all of us, that we are sinners, ‘adulterers before God, traitors of His loyalty,’ and that her experience is God’s will for each of us: ‘not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus.’
No longer identified by our sin
“We have a name, and God does not identify this name with the sin we have committed. He wants to free us, and wants that we want to be together with Him. He wants that our freedom is converted from evil to good, and this is possible – it is possible! – with His grace.”
Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary help us to entrust ourselves fully to God’s mercy so we can become new creatures.
After greeting the numerous faithful, he also noted how pocket-sized Gospels were being distributed in the Square to faithful and urged them to memorize the works of mercy, so they actually do them.
As usual, the Holy Father concluded his address, asking those present to pray for him, and wishing them a good Sunday and lunch.