Brief Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent – 2016

 

Jesus and the Woman

 

Isaiah 43: 16-21

Philippians 3: 8-14

John 8: 1-11

 

“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something  new!”  Isaiah 43

“Jesus finally straightened up and said to the her, ‘Woman, where did they all disappear to?  Has no one condemned you ?  ‘No one sir,’ she answered.  Jesus said, ‘Nor do I condemn you.  You may go.  But from now on, avoid this sin.'” (John 8: 10-11)

 

In the past few Sundays, the Scriptures have had the theme of God’s mercy.  Last Sunday it was the parable of the Prodigal Son, this  Sunday, we read of Jesus’ encounter with the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  The reality of God’s mercy and love for all His creation has been and is a constant theme in Pope Francis’ homilies and addresses to the world.  Yet, many of us have, sadly, been receiving mixed messages from many the Christian communities.  Both over radio, broadcast television, cable television, and the Web; we hear preachers of all denominations, deliver “fire and brimstone” sermons, condemning sinners to hell.  People who believe themselves to be among the “righteous”, look with disgust, and sometimes hatred,  at those they see being among the “unclean.”

In Jesus times, such individuals also existed, especially those who were among the Temple elite.  They wanted a “pure” holy society; by a strict, unbending obedience to “the Law.”  But they had forgotten what God had spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “…see, I am doing something new!”  Jesus was revealing a loving God, a Father of mercy.  Jesus challenged the leaders of his time, and he challenges us to show mercy and forgiveness to all   those who may have harmed us.  Jesus remind’s us, that none of us are without sin or fault.  As we hope for God’s mercy, so must we give mercy to others.