Rorate Caeli

There is a hell

Dear friends, concrete advices for our lives come from the Word of God which we have heard [note: in the Traditional Roman Rite, Gospel for Saturday in the Third Week of Lent, John viii, 1-11]. Jesus does not undertake a theoretical discussion with his interlocutors: it does not matter to him to win an argument on the interpretation of Mosaic Law; his goal is to save a soul and to reveal that salvation is found in God's love. For this he came to earth, for this he will die on the cross, and [for this] the Father will resurrect him on the third day. Jesus came to say that he wishes all [to be] in Heaven and that hell, which is barely spoken of in our age, exists and is eternal for all those who close their hearts to his love. Also in this episode we thus understand that our true enemy is attachment to sin, which may lead us to the ruin of our existence. Jesus dismisses the adulterous woman with this advice: "Go, and, from now on, sin no more". He grants her pardon so that "from now on" she shall sin no more. In an analogous episode, that of the repentant sinner which we find in the Gospel of Luke (vii, 36-50), He welcomes and sends forth in peace a woman who repented. Here, in turn, the adulterous woman is pardoned in an unconditional way. In both cases - for the repentant sinner and for the adulterous woman - the message is the same. In one case, it is underlined that there is no pardon without repentance; here, it is made clear that only divine pardon and [divine] love received with an open and sincere heart grant the strength to resist evil and to "sin no more".
Benedict XVI
March 25, 2007