God wants the sinner to live and not die
“Neither do I condemn you, But from now on sin no more.” John 8:1-11
5th Sunday Lent
Death Penalty has always been a controversy everywhere in the world. Here in the Philippines the previous presidents had contrary views on it. Marcos put it. Cory removed it. Erap restored it. Gloria once again removed it
Although the Catholic stand is clearly against it, some priests had marched on the streets with the victims of rapists and other public figures to call for its restoration.
First no one has the right to kill anybody – not even the state, not even if they be criminals. Second killing the criminals might stop them from repeating crimes, but it does not correct them much less undo what had been done. Neither does killing bring them to repentance. But forgiveness does. As the bible puts it in Exekiel 33:11 “GOD takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked should turn from their ways and live.”
In the gospel today Jesus repeats this lesson. An adulterous woman was caught redhanded. According to the law of Moses she must be stoned to death. The law makes no mention of the man caught with her. But the intention of the Jews in asking Jesus to judge the case was to trap Him. If Jesus says “no” then He does not follow the Mosaic law. If however He says “Yes” then he is not following the Roman governor who prohibits prosecution among the Jews.
Jesus knew their evil plan so He answered in two steps. First Jesus wrote on the hard ground to drive the point that it is God who made the law in stone. God is therefore also the sole executor of the law. Only He has the right to prosecute the guilty sinner. Second Jesus stood up and said: “Are you without sin? Then cast the first stone at her.” He did this to prick their consciences dulled by their hardness of heart. In the end no one cast a stone at the adulterer. Only Jesus – the legislator and the woman – the violator remained in place. But Jesus did not follow either the law and forgave the sin but advised the woman “Stop your sin and return to the Lord and live – but not die”.
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