Fifth Sunday of Lent

Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 7, 2019

WORD of the DAY

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 anymore. (John 8: 1-11)

How shall I live this Word?

In a scene from East Auburn Baptist Church production of “The Event,” Jesus, portrayed by Shawn DeGraff, writes in the dirt and asks the accusers, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone,” when a woman caught in the act of adultery is brought before him, portrayed by Lisa Roy.

At the regal majesty of the Temple of Jerusalem spreads the atmosphere of a polluted process under the elegance of its arcades, an oppressive mantle where the impalpable obscures the judgments of the elders, where the words weigh like stones and loom over ‘misery’, a poor woman, a beggar of ‘mercy’. The tense air threatens a bloody clash from the various fronts: Words of the Law, arsenal of deadly arrows; words of scribes and Pharisees, with their stringent and incontrovertible logic. Words shrouded in mystery and written on the sand … All are mute, waiting for the death sentence. Here is God who speaks. He reveals Himself as both judge and lawyer: His verdict exculpates and condemns, pierces and spares, sentences and acquits. Mercy triumphs, the unwritten law of acceptance preserves the imploring life and sends the centuries-old codes of Jewish procedural law to waste. Everyone has gone away: the only one left is love!

It is beautiful to experience the presence and consolation of the Lord just when all the alleged human certainties vanish: the word of Jesus and His merciful judgment are the best medicine for our ills, because there is no better drug. When we do not feel understood, or when it seems that everyone has abandoned us, then our heart will understand the essential!

THE VOICE OF Catullus, Poet

We live, and we love! The talk of the elders count as small change!
Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Via dell’Ateneo Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
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Comment by Fr. Enrico Emili

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