MARCH 13, 2016 – FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (Cycle C)

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MARCH 13, 2016 – FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (Cycle C)

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His wordsREADINGS:   Isaiah 43: 16-21   /   Psalm 126: 1-2. 2-3. 4-5. 6   /   Philippians 3: 8-14   /   JOHN 8: 1-11

HIS WORD… LET THE ONE AMONG YOU WHO IS WITHOUT SIN BE THE FIRST TO THROW A STONE AT HER… WOMAN, WHERE ARE THEY? HAS NO ONE CONDEMNED YOU? …NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU. GO, AND FROM NOW ON DO NOT SIN ANY MORE…

my words… Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the last Sunday before Palm Sunday of the Holy Week Celebration.And the gospel of John presents to us the story of the woman caught in the very act of committing adultery. And the malice of the story is: the Scribes and the Pharisees brought this woman (without the male-partner) to Jesus in order for them “to catch two birds (the adulteress and Jesus) with one stone” via a trap. And the trap is: if Jesus approves of the death penalty (stoning to death) prescribed in the Law of Moses (Lv 20:10 ff and Dt 22:22 ff), He will contradict His own preaching of love, mercy, and forgiveness; if Jesus declares the woman innocent, He will be in direct defiance of the Jewish Law.

Did Jesus fall into the trap? In no way. Instead of replying, Jesus bends down and begins to write on the ground with His finger. (What is important here is not on WHAT Jesus wrote on the ground but the gestures of bending and writing on the ground was an invitation for deeper reflection: an EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE.) When they persist in asking noisily, Jesus straightens up and challenges the self-righteousness of the woman’s accusers and would-be executioners, forcing them to confront their own sinfulness and hypocrisy. Jesus dares them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn 8:7). There was initial silence on the woman (confession of guilt) and on Jesus (deeper reflection, discernment, and provocation) amidst the noisy stubborn crowd. As Jesus returns to writing on the ground, the accusers melt away (it was their turn to grow speechless; their angry voices fell silent; their faces drooped; the stones landed timidly on the ground with a muffled sound) beginning with the elders. All the Scribes and Pharisees present made an about face, a u-turn, and then strode like a routed army (Commentary: The New Exploring God’ Word, Makati, Phils: Word & Life Publications). Looking into their hearts, they see and revealed their own sinfulness. And the last words of Jesus to the woman were: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, DO NOT SIN ANY MORE.”And this is the Sacrament of Holy Confessions.

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Brothers and Sisters, we are nearing to the Holy Week celebrations, and we are always invited to come to Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of Confessions. And remember the sacrament of confession is not a sacrament of condemnation but of RECONCILIATION. We are asked to return to Him who died for our sins. Yes, we are condemned by our conscience that prompted us to go to confessions… And we are heard and listened to, we are counselled and advised, we are absolved, and we are totally forgiven and restored to Him. But please, SIN NO MORE. (By Fr. Julius C. Lupot)

BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR SINNERS, GOD ALWAYS MERCIFULLY FORGIVES SINNERS…        

 

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