During his Angelus address on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis drew inspiration from the Gospel reading of the day which the Pope himself described as so beautiful that he reads it and rereads it.
It tells the story of the adulterous woman, which the Pope said, highlights the theme of the mercy of God, who never wants the death of the sinner but wants them to convert and live.
Pope Francis asked the faithful present in St Peter’s Square to imagine they were witnessing the scene of Jesus, the woman and the crowd who want her stoned to death for her sins.
The Holy Father said that the crowd have not come to the Master to ask for his opinion but to make him fall into a trap.
When Jesus responds saying “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone at her” continued the Pope this “displaces the accusers”, and disarms them. They leave aware of their sins. Just like the Gospel reading said Pope Francis, we need to be aware of our sins and have the courage to drop the stones that we aim at others and think about the wrong we do.
The Holy Father noted that when everyone has gone it is just “the woman and Jesus: misery and mercy, facing each other.”
Putting this scene into the context of today, Pope Francis explained that it is like when we are in the confessional filled with shame. We see our own misery and we ask for forgiveness.
This woman underlined, the Pope “represents all of us, sinners, that is, adulterers before God, traitors of his loyalty. And her experience is God’s will for each of us: not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus.”
Following the recitation of the Marian prayer, all those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, were given a copy of the Gospel of St. Luke, donated by Pope Francis, with an invitation to “read it every day.”
God has caressed us with his mercy. Let us bring God’s tender caress to others, to those who are in need.