The totality of Jesus’ forgiveness is immeasurable. We witness the mercy and compassion of the Lord in the readings of this week – from Jesus’ mercy towards the adulterous woman in the Gospel, to St Paul’s testimony of himself as a forgiven sinner, to Isaiah’s proclamation of new life in God by leaving our sinful past behind. We are reminded that God’s abounding love is steadfast, and the importance of reflection and repentance as we journey this Lenten season.


The first reading from the prophet Isaiah was written at the end of the period of Babylonian exile, where the chosen people who were in captivity would be set free and allowed to return home. While the trip and journey home through hostile terrain would be daunting, God shows forgiveness in liberation and new life under His love and protection. We are called to be free from our past sinfulness, when the Lord tells us that there is “No need to recall the past”, but rather, center our new lives and journey around Him.


St Paul talks about his faith in God and how his love for Christ has transformed him in the second reading. After spending a large part of his life trying his best to abide by Moses’ law and keeping to the commandments, St Paul realises that he cannot be perfect simply on his own human effort, and that the perfection he was striving for “comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith”. Often in our lives, we are guilty of trying to be perfect and when we do not live up to our own expectations, we feel demoralised, unworthy and insecure about our abilities. However, we do not realise that this is prideful behaviour where we deem ourselves not good enough by our own human standards. St Paul’s transformation and repentance show the forgiveness and mercy of God when we truly come to know Him. The message of new life in the first reading surfaces here once again, to “forget the past” and “strain ahead for what is still to come”, telling us that our spiritual journey is an ongoing process and to continue seeking to know Jesus.


The Gospel of today reiterates the overarching themes of mercy and compassion this week. The Pharisees tested Jesus and challenged his teachings by using the woman who committed adultery. If Jesus had absolved her of her sins, he would have gone against the laws of Moses, whereas if he had condemned her, he would have gone against his own teachings of mercy and forgiveness. Rather than giving an absolute judgement, Jesus instead invited all present to reflect on their own selves. In a modern context, the ‘stones’ we throw at others include gossip, unkindness, fake news and we laud at exposing others on social media, posting videos and complaints to publicly shame and propagate the ‘cancel culture’. In participating in the creation and spread of the aforementioned, we fail to realise that we have passed judgement on others, be it advertently or otherwise. While we should condemn sin, we are taught to love the sinner as Jesus loves us. He saved our lives and redeemed us by his death on the cross, just as he saved the woman from being stoned to death. We are told to sin no more, and by the grace of repentance and God’s mercy, our lives are renewed.


Let us leave our old lives of sinfulness behind and embrace new life made possible by his daily saving grace.

Ephrem Music Ministry