Date: Sunday March 25, 2007 Fifth Sunday of Lent
Readings: Isaiah 43: 16-21* Psalm 126: 1-6*
Philippians 3: 8-14* John 8:1-11
Since adultery is a sin against the monogamy of marriage, Christ seems to condone the woman's actions. We see examples of the same attitude in our society. Many men and women exempt themselves from the principle of one man/one woman in marriage unless one of the partners dies.
Divorce is rampant, often with no more of a reason than "falling out of love", as though love is the most necessary ingredient. Important as love is, the purpose of marriage is two-fold, personal intimacy and co-creation. It is idyllic to believe marriages made in heaven could disintegrate with such ease.
Christ, instead, was pointing out the hypocrisy of the would-be stoners. Like the Priest hearing confessions, He does not admonish the sinner but encourages her to no longer engage in such practices. We cannot be the judge of others actions particularly if we aren't privy to all the circumstances. Sin is sin. No excuse alters the fact. However, the punishment is adjudicated by the circumstances involved. Every Priest worth his office, must know the circumstances before he can advise or grant absolution. God knows the heart, so, the Priest can be conned.
However, full confession removes not only the sin but the guilt associated therewith.
During this Lenten season and especially at the Resurrection, if our sin keeps us from the Eucharist, we owe it to ourselves to make a clean break with habitual practices and ask God (through our Priests) to forgive us and give us the necessary Graces to avoid repeats.
The two (2) readings from the Hebrew Scriptures combine to offer us a glimpse of the past glories of God in the two (2) Exoduses from Egypt and Babylon. They were in captivity and really expected no escape because of their adultery by serving other gods. Our God knows of our travail and He wants us to make things right by examining our consciences and righting the wrongs we've done. He will deliver His Grace and Freedom when we decide to turn ourselves around and become His advocates.
Paul reminds us we've a long way to go. We haven't made it yet. We must continue to offer sacrifice to the Father through the re-presentation of the Pascal banquet. Our Lamb, interceding for us, through the Mass, brings us to the brink of salvation but does not force us to accept His love. We make the effort with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us through our baptism and the reception of Jesus' Body and Blood.