Bulletin: April 3, 2022
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Isaiah prophesies for the Lord: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” One of the most dangerous things that we can do is get stuck in our old ways. As individuals, as parishes, as nations we can say, “We’ve always done it that way,” and miss calls to growth and change. Throughout this Lent and our lives, God continues to call us to life, and we should celebrate that! The psalmist reminds us that “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy!” Saint Paul realizes this as he explains, “I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” In the Gospel, Jesus offers a new way of looking at a tricky situation and provides a kinder, less judgmental response.
AN AGE-OLD STORY OF JUDGEMENT
In our Gospel today we hear an ancient story, but one that feels like it could be taken out of the headlines today. We can be very quick to pass judgment on others, those with different political or cultural backgrounds, or perhaps with a different sexual orientation. Jesus was teaching in the temple, and the scribes and Pharisees did not like the message that he was proclaiming or the popularity he was gaining. When a nearby woman was caught in adultery, they thought it was the perfect chance to trip Jesus up, wondering how he would respond when the Mosaic Law provided clear consequences for such behavior. Many would be able to quote instantly chapter and verse of the law pertaining to the infraction. Instead of answering their question, Jesus turned it back on the accusers: “Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
DRAWING IN THE SAND
Awaiting the response of those challenging him, Jesus bent over and wrote in the sand. According to scripture scholar John Pilch, this was a simple technique that peasants used to buy time in a discussion or argument. Instead of looking the scribes and pharisees in the eye, he looked down and did his own thing while they all slipped away. The scriptures do not tell us what the woman was doing during this time. But by not looking at her, Jesus gave her a chance to restore her own dignity. He didn’t comment on her innocence or guilt. Rather, he instructed her to go forth and sin no more. It is not our past that matters as much as the choices we make now and in the future. Again and again, God gives us the chance to start our life over. This is our challenge this Lent, to continue to use the opportunities we are given to repent and grow.
Today’s Readings: Is 43:16–21; Ps 126:1–2, 2–3, 4–5, 6, 12a; Phil 3:8–14; Jn 8:1–11
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