Bulletin: April 7, 2019

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jesus knew the scribes and Pharisees were trying to trap him. They put him in what seemed to be a no-win situation. Let the woman who was caught in adultery go, and he would have been accused of ignoring the law. Let her be stoned, and he would fail to show mercy toward her, contradicting his life’s message. Jesus’ response teaches three crucial lessons: none of us is free of sin; we are not the ultimate judges of others; Jesus is the mercy of God, in whom we can always trust. In Christ, God does something new. When we give our hearts to Christ, we have the hope of new life, a life in which mercy reigns.

No One is Sinless

“Sin” isn’t a word we use very often in today’s culture. Yet we must be honest and acknowledge that we sin. Otherwise, we become like people with a disease who are in denial of its implications—we cannot hope to be cured unless we admit that it exists. Sin is a disease of the soul, a dis-ease in our relationship with God. When we sin, we fail to live as we know God desires. The truth is, no one is sinless. We all fail. We may have moments of intense union with God and live as we know we ought. Yet we also have times when we miss the mark. Because we are human and know that we fail, it is easy to adopt a pattern of judgmental behavior. We point to the splinter in our neighbor’s eye while failing to remove the plank from our own. Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees is clear on this account. “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

God’s Mercy is for Everyone

The bad news is that we all sin. The good news is that God’s mercy is available, always, at all times. We must be sorry for our failures and, if our sin is grave, take part in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus’ encounter with the woman in today’s Gospel, as with so many others in the course of his earthly ministry, stands as proof that God is merciful and forgiving. As we continue to journey through the season of Lent, it is good for us to pause and reflect—on our relationship with Christ and on God’s infinite mercy.

Today’s Readings: Is 43:16–21; Ps 126:1–2, 2–3, 4–5, 6; Phil 3:8–14; Jn 8:1–11

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