Monday March 18, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fifth Week of Lent
Reading (Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62) Gospel (St. John 8:1-11)
In the two readings today, we see the mercy and the justice of God clearly laid out before us. And, as far as what we can expect, we also see that it depends on how we deal with things. In the first reading, we see the justice of God carried out against these two elders who had plotted evil against their neighbor, made false accusations, and tried to hide the truth. It was their own sin that was problematic, and that was what they chose to keep hidden. In the Gospel reading, on the other hand, we see a woman who is actually caught in the sin, but her own humility and disposition brings about the mercy of God. She did not try to deny it. She did not try to run from it. She was willing to accept whatever the sentence would be; the repentance was clearly there and she received the mercy of God.
The same is true for each one of us. If we choose to keep our sins hidden, we are going to have to deal with the justice of God. If we choose to confess our sins, get them out in the open, then we will receive the mercy of God. If we come to Confession and tell the Lord our sins, they will never be heard of again; instead, the Lord will say, "I do not condemn you. Go now, and avoid this sin from now on." If, on the other hand, we choose to keep our sins hidden, then we will await the day that we will stand before the Lord; and on that day there will be no mercy - there will only be judgment. On that day, the Lord will say to us, "I have these things against you. You kept these sins hidden, and now the angel of the Lord stands awaiting (as Daniel would say) to split you in two." That is not what we want to hear on the Day of Judgment.
God has provided so that everything will be taken care of for us. All that is necessary is a disposition on our part to be humble, to confess our sins, and to receive the mercy of God and have our sins forgiven.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.