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The 5th Sunday of Lent

March 17th, 2013

 

"Let He Who Is Without Sin . . . !"

 

 

Reading I
Is 43:16-21


Thus says the LORD,
who opens a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me,
jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
and rivers in the wasteland
for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
that they might announce my praise.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading II
Phil 3:8-14


Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God,
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
or have already attained perfect maturity,
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

Gospel
Jn 8:1-11


Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
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.”

 

Homily

 

       There is a dark area in our lives that everyone shares and most don’t like to talk about.  We like to cover it up or bury it deep beneath the dirty soil in our lives.  Sin indeed, is no stranger to anyone who is human.  How often are we consumed by the sin of the other person, as was the woman who was caught in adultery.  How easy it is for us to see the faults in other people;  we have such good eyes to do that.  And yet, for some, our eyesight becomes so poor when it comes to our own sinfulness.  And I am not talking about the social sins that plague this world and this country, as God will deal with those and the ideology that breeds them.  But when they seek to invade the innocence of our children then perhaps it is time for us to stand a stand.

       They told him:  “This woman was caught in the act of adultery this morning.  What should we do?”  He did not answer them.  When they persisted, he finally looked up, and even then he did not answer their question at all.  He gave them his question.  How could they draw that line between themselves and her?  Was she a sinner and they not sinners at all?  He told them:  “All right, let the one of you who is without sin throw the first stone!”

       They looked at him.  They looked at her.  They looked at the stones they had ready in their hands.  They looked at one another and suddenly it must have dawned on them what he meant.  They had draw a line around her.  They had put her in a circle.  They had declared her a sinner.  Now they understood that they also belonged in that circle.  One after another, the eldest one first, they dropped their stones and disappeared as quickly and silently as possible.

       Finally she was alone.  Jesus looked at her and said, “Is there no one left to condemn you?”  She answered, “No one, Sir.”  He said, “I am not going to do that either.  Go away,” and then he added, not only for her, but for all those who had left and were in the same position as she, and to us:  “Don’t sin anymore.”

       Perhaps the point of this story is not about adultery.  It could have been any sin that the woman committed.  The scribes and Pharisees just wanted to trap Jesus, but he turned the table around on them and they had no choice but to leave, which was an admission of their own sinfulness.  And Jesus’ response to the woman was not just to go and sin no more, but to go and make better choices in life that are not sinful, realizing that it is the choices that we make that lead to sin, and also the choices we make that do not lead to sin, those choices that lead to a healthy spiritual life.  We can choose not to steal, not to lie, not to fornicate, not to gossip, not to pass judgment, not to live as the world wants us to live, but instead, to make the choice to live a sacramental way of life, so as to minimize the sin in our lives, thus – responding to the special graces that a sacramental life has to offer.

  This past week a new Pope has been elected, Pope Francis I.  He will be facing a tremendous challenge in leading all people of this world back to God, back to living a life based on the teachings of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ.  He will need our prayers as much as we need his guidance, his instruction, and his wisdom.

       It is my hope that this message was meaningful to you.  Have a great week ahead and may God bless each of you.  Sincerely yours in Christ –

 

Deacon Steve A. Politte

© March 16th, 2013

revised

 

  

 

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