Fifth Sunday of Lent
In Gospel reading today, we are given the three main characters: Jesus, the woman accused of adultery, and the Pharisees. The Pharisees wish to expose this woman of her sin in the public realm, bearing down their own judgment on her crime. Yet in the end they walk away shamed after Jesus says, "Let the one without sin cast the first stone." How many times have we judged other people for their wrongdoings? We cannot shame others, because we too are sinful. Then the woman caught in adultery who has been brought forth to be stoned. We too have been like this sinful woman, and by the grace of God are saved. We are called to be like Christ in this scenario, to forgive. The Gospel reading calls us out of our judgment, selfishness, brokenness and sin, into a new life with Him. He continues to love us not matter how many times we fall. His great love is at the heart of the Gospel and we are called to strive towards an intimate relationship with him. We are to have faith that he will lead us out of whatever terrible situation we face. If we have this faith why do we panic and fall back to our sinful comforts?
It is not always easy. The reading from St. Paul poignantly reminds us of our sinful nature and God’s mercy by proclaiming that he (Paul) is not perfect, but continues in pursuit of hope. We are not perfect! How refreshing! St. Paul calls us to not only admit that we are sinful but to also continue to strive towards our ultimate goal, Jesus Christ. We continue to fight the good fight, to withstand the temptations of this world with His help. The reading from Isaiah reminds that God will make a path for us, and provide for us not matter how often we turn away. He provides for us not because of our faithfulness but to fulfill His promise. No matter how broken we become or allow ourselves to be, He continues to welcome us back. Our job is to have faith in Him and his constancy.
The theme of reconciliation is prevalent throughout the season of Lent. It is a time of purification, where we can prepare our hearts and refocus our lives. As we journey through these last days of Lent, let us remember our own brokenness, allow Christ to lift that burden through reconciliation, and to revel in the light that is Christ at Easter.
Kim Valdez is a Pastoral Associate at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.