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5th Sunday of Lent 2016

Gospel - John 8:1-11 - A Woman Caught in Adultery

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Visit the USCCB's website for the full Gospel Reading.


Reflection

Written by the English as a New Language Team

It’s a good thing there was no social media in the time of Jesus. His reaction to the adulteress in this account from the Gospel of John would have certainly gone more viral than Pope Francis’s unforgettable “Who am I to judge?” comment. After all, Jesus was given the perfect opportunity to accuse. The woman had been caught red-handed, and surely no one can defend the sin of adultery. It tears families to shreds.

Christ directs us to a life of goodness, mercy, and light.Even still, Jesus chooses mercy! He gets down into the dirt to defend, to advocate, and to counsel. If this is not reason to trust Jesus, what is? As Pope Francis says in The Church of Mercy, “Let the risen Jesus enter your life—welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms.” God’s grace is utterly welcoming and totally freeing.

And yet as we encounter in Jesus this ocean of mercy, let us not forget that we also find direction. Although no one knows what it is that Jesus wrote in the dirt, we do know that he instructed the crowd, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Self-righteousness and cruelty are an anathema to the Way. As for the woman, he simply and clearly guides, “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” Christ directs us to a life of goodness, mercy, and light.

So this Lent, let us remember that we can completely and totally trust Jesus. And when we listen to and follow him, we will reorient ourselves towards God. Jesus is our welcome and our way.

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