[On Sunday March 17 I will celebrate Mass once again in my Rome Titular Church, I Santi Quattro Coronati--the Four Holy Crowned Martyrs. Will be joined by the usual Italian parishioners, as well as Los Angeles priests and friends.
The Basilica is cared for by wonderful Augustinian Sisters, a cloistered community. See their website: http://www.santiquattrocoronati.org/NN/comi.htm
You can find many interesting websites which feature I Santi Quattro Coronati; just use any search engine.]
My homily focuses upon the Scriptures for Sunday which carry a common and important theme: do not allow ourselves to be imprisoned in the past; rather, look forward to fresh beginnings with God's grace! Marvelous things can happen in our lives with God and with hope.
Is this not the reason we are so excited about Pope Francis? He is pointing us in a new, fresh, and forward direction!
God is interested only in our future, what we will become in Christ.
In John's Gospel, we see Jesus go into the heart of the Temple--a sacred place for the Jewish people. And here the pious Jewish leaders bring the woman caught in adultery. Too many religious people want to trap others in their past--to nail them to an immovable past. They even invoke Moses--using religion as a blunt instrument, tying us to our past, rather than considering forgiveness and our future.
But Jesus totally disarmed them, showing that our all being sinners should actually bring about compassion for one another. And so, they slowly drifted away one by one. St. Augustine comments on this Gospel contrasting two Latin words: miseria and misericordia--moving from misery to mercy.
Jesus says, neither do I condemn you. Go, and stop sinning. Jesus is not obsessed with her past, but hopeful for her future.
My friends, all of us at times feel imprisoned by our past--often, we can't let go of past resentments against one another. Maybe we don't want to go to Confession because we really don't want to change our lives--to live in the future free from our past.
Through this Eucharist, let us move from misery to mercy through the power of Jesus Christ as Pope Francis is leading us. Remember: every Saint has a past; but every sinner has a future [Fr. Robert Barron].