* * *
This is beautiful: first Jesus alone on the mountain praying. He prayed alone (cf. John 8:1). Then he went again to the Temple, and all the people went to him (cf. 8:2). Jesus among the people. And then, at the end, they left him alone with the woman (cf. 8:9). That solitude of Jesus! But it is a fruitful solitude: it is that of prayer with the Father and that other, which is so beautiful, which is precisely the Church’s message today, the [fruitful solitude] of his mercy with this woman.
There is also a difference among the people: there are the people who went with him; he sat down and began to teach them: the people who wanted to hear Jesus’ words, the people with open hearts, in need of the Word of God. There were others, who heard nothing, they could not hear; and they are those who brought the woman: Listen, Master, here is one, and one that … We must do to her what Moses commanded us to do to these women (cf. 8:4-5).
We too believe that we are these people, who, on the one hand wants to listen to Jesus, but, on the other hand, we like to cudgel others, to condemn others. And Jesus’ message is: mercy. For me, I say this humbly, it is the strongest message of the Lord: mercy. But he himself said it: I have not come for the just; the just justify themselves. Go ahead, blessed Lord, if you can do it, I cannot! But they think that they can do it. I have come for sinners (cf. Mark 2:17).
Think about that complaining after the calling of Matthew: But he goes around with sinners! (cf. Matthew 2:16). And he has come for us when we recognize that we are sinners. But if we are like that Pharisee at the altar – I thank you, Lord, that I am not like all the others, and that I am not like the man at the gate, like that publican (cf. Luke 18:11-12) – then we do not know the Lord’s heart, and we will never have the joy to experience this mercy! It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an inscrutable abyss. But we must do it! “Oh, father, if you knew my life, you would not speak this way!” “Why, what have you done?” “Oh, I have done terrible things!” “All the better! Go to Jesus: he would be happy if you told him these things!” He forgets, he has a special capacity to forget. He forgets, he kisses you, he embraces you and he says to you: “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11). That is the only counsel he gives you. After a month, we are in the same situation … Let us return to the Lord. The Lord never wearies of forgiving: never! We are the ones who grow weary of asking forgiveness. And let us ask for the grace to never weary of asking forgiveness because he never wearies of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace.[At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration, the pastor priest of Sant’Anna in the Vatican, Father Bruno Silvestrini, O.S.A., and the vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, offered their greetings to Pope Francis. Then the Holy Father concluded with these words:]
There are a few people here who are not parishioners: these Argentine priests, one is my auxiliary bishop, but today they are parishioners. But I would like to introduce you to a priest who comes from a great distance, who came, a priest who for a long time has been working with street kids, with drug addicts. He opened a school for them, he has done a lot of things to help them to know Jesus, and today all of these young people from the street, because of the studies they undertook, are working, they are able to work, they believe in and love Jesus. I would like to ask you, Gonzalo, come and greet the people: pray for him. He works in Uruguay, he is the founder of the Liceo Jubilar Juan Pablo II, he does this work. I don’t know how he came here today. But I will find out! Thank you. Pray for him.[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]