Thought of the day
Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday of the Fifth week of Lent

"Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more"


Commentary of the day
Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Tractate 33 on the Gospel of John, 5-8

"Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more"

"One after another all withdrew." The two were left alone, the woman in need of mercy and Mercy. But the Lord, having struck them through with that dart of justice, deigned not to heed their fall, but, turning his eyes away from them, "again he wrote with his finger on the ground."

But when that woman remained alone and all had gone, he raised his eyes to her. We have heard the voice of justice; let us listen too to the voice of clemency... This woman expected to be punished by him in whom sin could not be found. But he, who had driven back her adversaries with the voice of justice, lifting the eyes of mercy to her, asked her: "Has no one condemned you?" She answered, "No one, Lord." And he said: "Neither do I condemn you. I by whom, perhaps, you were afraid of being condemned because you have found no sin in me; neither do I condemn you."

What is this, O Lord? Do you favour sins, then? Certainly not! But take note of what follows: "Go, henceforth sin no more." The Lord did condemn, therefore, but he condemned the sin, not the sinner... Let them be careful, then, those who love the goodness in the Lord but who fear His truthfulness... The Lord is gracious, the Lord is slow to anger, the Lord is merciful; but the Lord is also just and the Lord is abounding in truth (Ps 85[86],15). He gives you time for amendment but you prefer to take advantage of the delay rather than to reform your ways. Did you act wickedly yesterday? Be good today. Have you spent today in evil? At any rate change your behaviour tomorrow.

This, then, is the meaning of the words he addresses to this woman, "Neither do I condemn you but, having been made secure concerning the past, be on your guard in the future. I, for my part, will not condemn you, I have blotted out what you have done; keep what I have commanded that you may gain what I have promised.”
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