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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 5th (C) of Lent

1st Reading (Isa 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: 125
R/. 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.

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.

Restore our fortunes, o Lord, like the torrents in the southern desert. Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves.
2nd Reading (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.
Versicle before the Gospel (Joel 2:12-13): Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.
Gospel text (Jn 8,1-11): Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak Jesus appeared in the Temple again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them. Then the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They made her stand in front of everyone. «Master», they said, «this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now the Law of Moses orders that such women be stoned to death; but you, what do you say?». They said this to test Jesus, in order to have some charge against him. Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger.

And as they continued to ask him, He straightened up and said to them, «Let anyone among you who has no sin be the first to throw a stone at her». And He bent down again, writing on the ground. As a result of these words, they went away, one by one, starting with the elders, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Then Jesus stood up and said to her, «Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?». She replied, «No one». And Jesus said, «Neither do I condemn you; go away and don't sin again».

«Neither do I condemn you»

Fr. Pablo ARCE Gargollo (México, D. F., Mexico)

Today, we see Jesus «writing on the ground with his finger» (Jn 8:6), just like He was busy and, at the same time, absent minded in some more important chore than having to listen to those accusing that woman brought to him because «she has been caught in the act of adultery» (Jn 8:3).

We must pay attention to Jesus Christ's peace of mind and sense of humor, even in moments that for others may be of great stress. In our present days, that slip away at breakneck speed, twisting and compressing our nerves on great many occasions, this is a practical lesson for each one of us.

The silent and funny escape of the accusers, reminds us that God is the only one who can judge us and that we are all sinners. In our daily life, in our work, in our family or friendly relations, we often make value judgements. More than once, our judgement is wrong and harms others' good fame; which is a true lack of justice that forces us to retraction. And this is not always so easy. Upon contemplating Jesus amidst that “filthy mess” of accusers, we may very well understand what saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out: «In every work of God both justice and mercy are united and they support each other. Justice without mercy is cruelty; and mercy without justice is ruin, destruction».

Let us fill us with joy knowing for sure God forgives us everything, absolutely everything we ever did, are doing, or will do, through repentance in the sacrament of confession. In these Lenten days, in the sacrament of reconciliation, we have the splendid opportunity to go to whom is rich in mercy.

And, in addition, a concrete resolve for today: when I shall look at the others, I shall say deep in my heart the same words Jesus said: «Neither do I condemn you» (Jn 8:11).