With this letter I want you to reflect upon a passage of the Gospel, in which it is written that, while Jesus taught the people in the Temple, some of them drew near Him to test him, with an insidious question. Let’s listen to what the Gospel says: The scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery, and they set her in the midst, and said to Him, “Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou?” And this they said tempting Him, that they might accuse Him. But Jesus bowing himself down wrote with His finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. The Jesus lifting up himself said to her, “Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?” Who said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.” (John 8, 3-11).
The reflection that today, through this passage of the Gospel, what we have been called to do, is above all: never condemn anybody, neither with our thoughts, nor with words, even if it seems to us an inveterate sinner, because, while one lives on this earth, he can always convert himself, change his life, and become even a great saint as Saint Mary Magdalene, St. Paul, Saint Augustine and so many others. Many are those in the history of Christianity, people that have become Saints after a messy and sinful life. So that our attitude toward others must be never one of judgment, but, we must have in ourselves the conviction: that we are worse than everybody. St. Francis of Assisi often told his Monks: “If men of the world, also the greatest sinners, had received from God the Graces that I have received, I am certain that they would be all great saints, while I am still a poor sinner.” How much humility is contained this expression!
All the Saints have been very pleasing to God above all for their humility, and because they felt to be as nothing, as it is written in the Psalm 143: “Man is like to vanity, his days pass away like a shadow.” (Psalm 143, 4). The most radiant example of sincere humility, is in the Blessed Virgin, who said of herself: Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid ( Lk 1, 48). To what does it serve to swell himself of haughtiness, when at any given moment he we will have to leave this earth, and to surrender even his body to decay? This happens also to the most powerful and richest men of the world.
And then, why to so many feelings of wickedness towards others, if we are worse than them? Unfortunately many times we are apt to condemn rather than to excuse them, and we stone them both with words and with acts.
None of us can consider himself better than another, because only God knows the inside of a person. It is written in fact in the Bible: “…for man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart” (1 Sam 16: 7c). How much easier it is to accuse others, and to be mindful of their defects, and to consider ourselves superior to them. To this intention Jesus admonishes us: “And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye.” (Lk 6, 41-42).
If we will close our eyes on the defects of the others, Jesus, when he will meet us to judge us after our death, he will close them on ours. Here is the Commandment: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.” (Lk 6: 36-37). God is right, and therefore as we treat others, so He will treat us. Let’s make always our goal a life of goodness, gentleness, charity, and pardon, because, ” For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap” (Gal 6: 8).
There are then those who, even, after having received some benefits and help in money matters, turn against his benefactor with sneers, calumnies, maltreatments, insults, bad answers, betrayals and things of this kind. Similar people deserve only the title of Judas, because he behaves just as him. After having received some good, he responds badly, with wickedness and humiliations toward his own benefactors. He exploits those people who do some good, and shortly after it he is ready to turn his back and betray them and to slander them. These men won’t inherit the Kingdom of the Heaven, but they will be thrown after all into hell, because they are true and authentic traitors.
A last word I want to reserve for those people who suffer wickedness and insults, after having done some good, reminding them of the words of Jesus when he said: “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven” (Mt 5:11-12). Also St. Paul reminds us in the Letter to the Romans: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed to us” (Rm 8:18).
I greet you, bless you from my heart, and assure you of my prayers
Padre Luigi Duilio Graziotti