Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Forgiveness and Change

Somebody said: “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” Today’s gospel reading (Jn 8) illustrates this point. Here is a true-to-life story in Jesus’ experience.

One morning, the Pharisees brought before him an adulterous woman. She was caught in the act! Thus, they asked him to judge her; condemn her to death by stoning. Incredibly, Jesus is quiet. He said nothing. Instead, he started writing on the sand using his fingers. This action might mean, he was ignoring this matter; or he was pointing to them that they were dirt and dust; that it was not their business to judge her.
When they insisted, he told them: “let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” As a result, they all left. No one had enough courage to condemn her because they would also condemn themselves. Jesus was left alone with the woman; the sinless and the sinner; the God and the daughter. The Pharisees saw the woman’s failure, he dark past. Jesus saw her future; she was a potential saint!
There are two lessons we can learn from today’s gospel. One, forgiveness is powerful. It can save a life; it can also change a life. By Jesus’ action, he is showing us we cannot force anyone to repent; but we can always show mercy and compassion. Repentance is something very private and personal. It happens in the heart; it’s between you and God. But forgiveness is in our power. We can always choose to forgive anyone in our life who might have hurt us whether they deserve it or not. Forgiveness is love in action. It does not erase the past but looks upon it with compassion; with more understanding.
Second, have the courage to change. Jesus did not condemn or judge the woman. He knows that she is still a work in progress; an unfinished masterpiece. But Jesus told her: “Go and sin no more!” He gave her a chance to repent. She needed to stop sinning so that she can change her story. She needed to move forward and start the process of repentance.
In this time of Covid19, we cannot go to the usual channel of grace for us to be forgiven especially as we are nearing the Holy Week. Our churches are closed but our faith continually connects us to God. Last March 20, Pope Francis approved the Decree of Apostolic Penitentiary that allows us to gain a Special Plenary Indulgence in this time of crisis.
Now, I have an ABC Challenge for all of us:
A: Ask for forgiveness.Be sorry. In the absence of a priest, for the moment, Pope Francis recommends: “talk with God, He is your Father.. ask forgiveness with all your heart; promise Him, afterwards I will go to confession, but forgive me now.” Make an Act of Contrition or a sincere personal prayer of repentance.
These days, you can also gain a Special Plenary Indulgence (removal of the punishments due to your sins) by fulfilling these conditions: Pray for the Pope’s intention. Fulfill one of the following – attend an online mass; make the way of the cross; say the holy rosary; pray the Divine Mercy chaplet or read the Bible for 30 minutes. What more can you ask. You have been forgiven by God’s mercy and He is even removing your punishments.
B: Be merciful.Be brave to forgive. Remember, the condition for God to forgive you is that you must also be ready to forgive others.
C: Change your life.Jesus said: “Sin no more.” So stop the cycle of sin. Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future. This could be the start of a slow process of personal transformation. Moreover, Jesus also sees in you a potential saint. 
 
Prayer:Lord, give me your grace that I may repent with all my heart in order to break the cycle of sin and change my life. Amen.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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