Fifth Sunday of Lent

Scripture Readings:     Isaiah 43:16-21;     Philippians 3:8-14;     John 8:1-11

For us, here in the United States, the violence of stoning is unknown to us; but believe it or not, stoning is still legal in about 15 Countries.  Suffice it to say, stoning is most horrendous.  We might even say, “How can one human being do that to another?”

Some two thousand years ago, in the time of Jesus, a woman was about to be stoned. Here enters Jesus.  He knows the law but he also understood its intent and what was behind it: a loving and caring God.

But here is Jesus “doing something new,” as we heard in the Isaiah reading.

As the story of the woman caught in adultery unfolds, Jesus challenges the people gathered to take an inventory of themselves, not of other people.  For some, that was a new thought – not passing judgement on others and instead making an honest judgment of your own life.  Pretty difficult – is it not?

Truth is, we are all sinners.  We all hope and pray for God’s understanding and forgiveness, not just once, but again and again and again.  (Isn’t that what the Sacrament of Confession, Penance, Reconciliation is all about?)

That is what Jesus does today.  Forgives the woman… exhorts her to sin no more.

Today’s Gospel reminds us of God’s mercy, forgiveness and love that is without limit. Today’s Gospel reminds us that we, too, are meant to live and to share God’s mercy, forgiveness and love without limits each day.

During this Year of Mercy, I hope that we come to know more and more God’s great love, mercy and forgiveness, but also share the same with others.

How can we do that?     As Pope Francis has recently shared:

  • End family feuds
  • Forgive others
  • Let bygones be bygones
  • Leave bad things behind you
  • See the good in others
  • Foster unity among people
  • Speak well of others
  • Give a helping hand

God’s love and mercy and care… know no boundaries.

What is asked of us is opening our hearts to Christ and following his lead to opening our hearts to others.