There is a saying that has been attributed to several cultures but may be true for too many: I always forgive but I never forget! It should go without saying that each and everyone of us should be thankful that God does not subscribe to such words. Instead of remembering and recording all our misdeeds, He redeems us and frees us from our transgressions by the blood of His Son. This is the Paschal Mystery we celebrate in two weeks: Jesus carrying the weight of my sins—and everyone else’s—on His shoulders in the weight and mass of His cross as He staggers, falling several times, towards the place of His crucifixion.
His words to the woman caught in adultery are familiar to each of us, unless we haven’t been to confession for a while: “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” He wipes the slate clean in the spirit of St. Paul’s words, forgetting what lies behind. Is it really that simple? Yes and No.
Jesus desires my conversion of heart. He desires my change. Like the woman in today’s Gospel, He truly wants to give me a clean start and the opportunity to change my habits of life to become a better person BUT… how often do I go and confess the same sins I confessed the time before? It’s frustrating. In a way, I feel like I’m wasting the priest’s time, and God’s patience as well. Why is it so difficult?
Perhaps I am too often like the men who dragged the poor woman in front of Jesus, challenging Him to condemn her to death. Perhaps my own unwillingness to forget weighs heavily on my own shoulders, unwilling to trust the Mercy of God.
Each and every one of us wants to move forward, upward and become like Christ, in our lives. To make that happen it is necessary to abandon all personal will power to that of Christ’s. Paul says it best. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.