Fifth Sunday of Lent – C March 21st, 2010

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Dear Friends:

The Gospel of today’s liturgy speaks of the story of a woman caught in adultery. No gospel story speaks so simply or profoundly of the love of God,  made available for us in the person of Jesus. But it  also speaks of the seriousness of the need for repentance.

The gospel says, “the Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before the people, they said to Jesus,” Teacher this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women: now what do you say?” (Jn 8.3-5) Just imagine the situation of the woman. Standing before the huge crowd. She was totally humiliated and disgraced, confused and disoriented. Her sin was not greater than the man who abused her. Yet the man was set free but this woman was caught and accused. She was totally broken and vulnerable. She was the symbol of helplessness. She did not even have the Courage and strength to defend herself.

Let us also look at the situation of Jesus. If Jesus let the woman go free he could be accused of disobeying the law of Moses. If Jesus were to condemn the woman, he could be accused of not showing mercy and even encouraging the breaking of the Roman Law.

After seeing her, the gospel says, “Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground but the Scribes and the Pharisees kept on questioning him. Jesus straightened up and said to them, “let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And were told that all went away one by one beginning with the elders. Finally Jesus was left alone with the woman.

Yes, Jesus came to her rescue. He came to heal the broken hearted and bind their wounds. When all the accusers had drifted away, he asked her, “woman, has no one condemned you?. She replied, “No one, sir. St. John says “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John.3.17).

Jesus was sinless. He had every right to condemn the sinful woman, he refused to condemn her because he came into the world not to condemn us but to redeem us. Therefore let us take shelter in the Lord, who will take us into heaven through his love, mercy and forgiveness.

Fr. Chris