“A Christian always looks at the present and the future, not the past. We do not forget the past but use it as a guide for our future.”
The Past Fools Us
In the 2012 remake of the movie “Total Recall,” Douglas Quaid is fighting to recall who he truly is. His memory has been altered and he can no longer trust what he thinks is true. He believes the key to discovering his true identity is in recapturing his past. To this end he is on a search for a “prophet” named Matthias. Quaid believes that Matthias can help restore his past to him.
But when Quaid finally finds Matthias, a leader of a resistance movement, the prophet tells him “that is not the only reason you are here.” “I want to remember,” responds Quaid. “Why?” “So I can be myself, be who I was.”
“It is each man’s quest,” Matthias tells Quaid, “to find out who he truly is but the answer to that lies in the present, not in the past. As it is for all of us.”
“But the past tells us who we’ve become,” answers Quaid.
“The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us. It fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present. Look there. You’ll find your answer.”
A Christian always looks at the present and the future, not the past. We do not forget the past but use it as a guide for our future. We learn from it and move on.
Our entire existence here on earth is a journey towards Christ. It is pointless to look back. Dwelling on past sins can only bring us harm, past sins can be forgiven.
God did not want the people of Israel to look back, constantly dwelling on a period of exile. He urged them to look forward to a New Covenant.
The Promise of Salvation
Paul tells us to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. We are oriented to the future, to the promise of salvation.
When the woman taken in adultery is brought before Jesus, the Gospel tells us that “Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.” (John 8:6 )We are not told what He was writing, but many Bible scholars speculate that He was writing out the sins of those who brought the woman to Him. Faced with their own transgressions, they shamefully melted away until there was no one left to accuse her.
Jesus shows us that we are all culpable. We are all delivered to disobedience. He does this so that God might have mercy on us all. (Romans 11:32) When all her accusers have left, Jesus voices words of forgiveness. No one can condemn another in the presence of God. Jesus suffers for us all in order to obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness for all.
Our salvation is accomplished in the Passion of Christ. This act of God is the destination of our journey for it is here that God creates something new.
We look ahead to Palm Sunday and Holy Week. The past is irrelevant; God has offered us a future of eternal blessedness.
5th Sunday in Lent