Sunday, March 13, 2016

5th Sunday of Lent Year C 2016

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts.

Today we heard an incredible story,
a story which should touch all of our hearts,
a story which should give hope and challenge to sinners.
This gospel story should cause us all to pause and think before we ever condemn anyone for anything.

There is no question of the Woman’s guilt.  She is guilty.
She is ashamed, humiliated, and she is definitely terrified.

The crowd is ready to stone her to death.
It is a very emotional and volatile moment.

Jesus in a very difficult spot.
To say stone her would go against everything he has taught.
He was the friend of sinners.
To the consternation of many
He welcomed sinners and even ate with them.

It also would have put him at odds with the Romans because Roman law forbade the Jews from executing anyone.

To refuse to stone her
Would have seemed to but him at odds with the Law itself.

It would have seemed that he considered himself above the Law.
And for the pious Jew of his time during this harsh and brutal occupation of their home the observance of the Law had become so important because it was the glue that held them together.

No easy spot for Jesus to be in..

One author said that he might have been writing or doodling  in the sand to give himself time to think how to respond..

But with just a few simple words he changed the whole moment.

With those few words he showed the crowd and the scribes that they were not that different from the person who they intended to stone.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Yes, the stone can and maybe should be cast but the person without sin must cast the first one

And you know what no one cast the first stone no one threw a pebble,  because no one could.

And if we are honest with each other, no one can none of us can.

All of us are sinners, and all of us have done things that we are ashamed of
all of us.

And when we realize that  we can never pick up a stone again… never.

Only God can cast the first stone and he chooses not to.

So what are we to do when we witness sin?
How are we to treat those like the woman who are just plain old broken,
guilty as charged no doubt it.

What should our response be when we encounter someone whose life is all messed up and who has also messed up the lives of others?

What are we to do?

I think once again Jesus’ response to her,
his ministry to her if your will must be the  template for what he expects of us.

First of all  Jesus had no anger in his voice.
He does not give into the self-righteous mood of the crowd

It is almost as if he is embarrassed for her, uncomfortable to be in this situation.
There is absolutely no self satisfaction in his manner.

Even his body language spoke in this manner.
Rather than stand up he stoops down seeming to  make himself lower less imposing when he speaks.

He does not say that they were mistaken. He does not make excuses for her like  she couldn’t help herself etc

He freely accepts that she was in violation of God’s Law.
No question about it.
He did not water down the law or its prescribed sanction.

Third  Jesus challenged her  He challenged her change her life
He didn’t say that’s alright it’s really not that important rather he said go and sin no more.

But the manner in which this challenge was delivered was also so important.
He spoke to her in private.
He did so quietly humbly.
He did so without trace of anger or personal righteousness.
There was no “how could you have done this?”
He spoke to her respectfully almost as a servant would speak to the master.

He believed in her
He believed that she could change
He believed that there was hope for her
No matter how lost she was
No matter how habitual her sin was
No matter how great the sin was
He held out hope.   

By telling her not to sin again he was kind of like cheering her on…
Come on you can change this….
You can have a better life  A richer happier life a holier life.

What about us…
What should we take from these simple powerful words from the Gospel of John ?

We should print this gospel and hang it on the walls of our room
And whenever we begin to condemn others.

Whenever we begin to allow ourselves to think that somehow we are better than anyone else.

That simple phrase “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”
Should sound in our minds and change our hearts.

All of us write people off.
All of us give in to moments of pridefulness.
All of us have had moments when we convince ourselves that we are better than this person or that person.

We as a society do the very same thing.
There are people in our jails and on our streets that we really don’t care about.
We don’t want to rehabilitate them…..   
We have no hope from them  we have written them off

They are simply to be warehoused until they die or go insane
While we can never judge with righteous indignation
we still have an obligation to love our brothers and sisters enough to challenge them.

Like Jesus challenged the woman. We have to love people enough to challenge them to bring out the best in them

We all have many relationships in  life, many friendships
And you will have to evaluate which one are worth holding on to ?

Hold on to the ones where the person loves you enough to loving challenge you
People like that are way beyond drinking buddies…
People who challenge have hope for us.

When we correct or challenge people we must do it in private and humbly just like Jesus did.

That moment is sacred and holy it is so important that correct with compassion and charity.

So much think about
So very much

As usual if we take it seriously the Gospel calls us to great things

If we don’t go home disturbed a little  or wondering how we can concretely put message  into action in our own lives

Then  We haven’t really listened have we..

Lord to whom shall we God you have the words of ever lasting life.   

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