“Neither Do I Condemn You. Go, and from Now On Do Not Sin Any More.”
Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ,
We can observe the fact how people react in the rescue of victims of drowning. When we happen to see somebody near to death in a deep water river or stream or pool, we may have three different reactions. First, to be wise and safe, we would call 119, for emergency rescue agency. Second, we would go to find a stick, long enough and strong enough, or a piece of rope also strong and long and safe enough to pull the victim of drowning out of water, out of danger. And another way to save the life of the victim, but maybe not wise, not careful, is that we would jump down in the water, and we embrace the victim, and what happens next? We will also die with the victim. But, sisters and brothers, when we observe how Jesus, the Son of God, came to rescue us from the danger of being condemned eternally because of our sin, because of our grave offense against God’s love, He did not call 119, He did not find a stick, or a piece of rope or any safety means, but He immediately, without a second thought, jumped down in the river, not a river of clean water at all, but a very deep and dirty river, which was covered with all kinds of crime and sinfulness exactly as Saint Paul wrote in his Letter to the Hebrews, “He became like you and me, He became like in all aspects of life, except sin. Though without sin He took all the responsibilities, the consequences of sin, committed by me and you, by the first to the last person in human history. So we can read in the four Books of the Gospel: He laughed with us when we are happy, he cried with us when we suffer, He shared in our dreams, He shared in our nightmares, He shared in our success, He shared also in our failure. So He really became one among us, our Brother, our Friend, our companion, and also our Savior. This is the reason why we, in words of Pope Francis, can see the very face of the merciful God in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
On December 8 last year 2015 Pope Francis opened the Holy Door to start the Jubilee Year in honor of God’s Merciful Love. To encourage all Christians to trust in the Divine Mercy truly expressed in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Pope sent the universal Church a letter entitled “Misericordiae Vultus”, Latin for “The Face of Mercy” pointing out that Jesus is the real and authentic face of the merciful love of God the Father.
It is true that no human being has ever seen God just because God is mere spirit and so beyond human sight, hearing and touching. But out of His immense love for us sinners He sent Jesus His Only Son to come in our human nature into this world to show us how much God the Father loves us. Therefore, from now on, we can, as Saint John wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us ; for our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”
What we see in Jesus, what hear from Jesus, what we learn from Jesus, has become the convincing evidences of the merciful love of God the Father because Jesus teaches us that, “who sees me sees the Father for the Father and I are one.”
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.