Gospel for 1st Sunday in April
5th Sunday in Lent John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them. The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everyone, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say? ‘They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’. Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this, they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one sir,’ she replied.’ ‘Neither do I condemn you’, said Jesus ‘Go away, and don’t sin anymore.
‘The Gospel of the Lord.
GUIDELINES TO HELP US TO MEDITATE ON THE PASSAGE SO AS TO RECOGNIZE AND CELEBRATE GOD’S PRESENCE AND ACTIVITY IN OUR LIVES AND WORLD TODAY.
Can we identify people who have been able “to keep their cool” in the face of animosity and hostility because they have a deep interior life, as manifest by Jesus in the gospel today – ‘He bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.’
Can we recognise people like Jesus, so perceptive and wise, that they can put their finger on and confront the root of the problem at hand – hypocrisy, self-righteousness, contempt – and so disarm and disable a potentially violent situation- ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to throw a stone at her’.
When have we been or seen the Jesus person who does not condemn but shows compassion, respect and reverence for a sinner, ‘Neither do I condemn you! ‘and therefore, is in a position to challenge someone to grow, ‘Go your way and sin no more?’
Father, thank you for people who encourage and affirm us in times of stress and uncertainty and who have stood by our side in the face of rejection or failure. Forgive us for times we have failed to stand by others in difficult times and when we haven’t been brave enough to stand up for the most vulnerable.
Can we remember an experience of sin, shame and guilt when we met somebody who didn’t give up on us? ‘Woman, where are they?’ Someone who condemned the sin but not the sinner, thus enabling and empowering us to learn from our mistakes… take a few minutes to recall the kindness and patience of all the forgiving “Jesus people” in our lives.
Forgive us Father for times we have been quick to write others off because of one mistake. Fill us with your love and compassion so that we will show mercy to others just as we would like them to show mercy to us.