READINGS: ISA. 43: 16-21; PHIL. 3: 8-14; JOHN 8: 1-11.
Here we are; it is already the Fifth Sunday of Lent. I hope that this season has been a fruitful one, leading you to a deeper awareness of Christ’s love and presence in daily life.
This Sunday, we hear, once again the story of the woman caught in adultery which is found in John’s Gospel. No doubt this story we have heard this story many times so what is there to say that is new? Why do we repeat Gospel readings? When I was young it seemed senseless and boring to listen to the same readings every couple of years. Why not something new, I mean it is a big Bible? Perhaps, you wonder that as well today?
Scripture readings are meant to link us to the key teachings and actions of Jesus so we can hold our life, attitudes, and actions into the mirror of the Word. It is not intended as a book of facts or history but a vehicle to examine our lives and come into personal contact with Christ.
So, what we might say? Well, our lives are never static but change with situations. One year we might be newly married, another year we might be grieving a parent’s death and another year we might have concern for a daughter’s health. We are enmeshed in relationships and circumstances, which thankfully touch our hearts, and affect us.
When we worship God at the Eucharist hopefully we are open and bring our whole selves before the Lord. This ‘whole self’ includes our hopes, fears, and anxieties. It is there that the Word of God can speak to us, sometimes words of encouragement and hope; other times pointing to a need for change and other times supporting us. As our life changes, if open to Christ, we hear different messages from Scripture.
So, what about the story of the woman caught in adultery? While this reading can and should touch us in a very personal way it is a general reminder to everyone that Christ came not to condemn but reconcile us to God. Christ is there to forgive our sins if we only approach Him. In a world that seems increasingly brutal and harsh, it is important for all of us to remember that our God forgives us individually. Now that is good news!
Perhaps during this Sunday, we can take a few minutes to read the Gospel reading and ask what God is telling us?
Please, remember in prayer and financially the Mission Doctors who serve so many of God’s poor throughout the world.
God bless you and Happy Fifth Sunday of Lent!
Brother John Kiesler, OFM