Fifth Sunday of Lent – Year C Readings
Reading 1: Is. 43:16-21
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6.
Reading 2: Phil. 3:8-14
Verse before the gospel: Jl. 2:12-13
Gospel: Jn. 8:1-11
There are things that one cannot change, there are things from the past that are history, and there are things in the future that are provident, only God knows them. God is the Lord of time and history, although we want we cannot stop time, we are already on the fifth Sunday of Lent. We are approaching the day where Jesus wanted to suffer, die and rise to give us life. I will reflect on three points that I consider important. First, the prophet Isaiah tells us, “Do not remember the past or think of the old. Second, Saint Paul gives us a very important advice; “I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.” Third, In the Gospel of Saint John the following words of Jesus are for us as well, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
First, the prophet Isaiah tells us, “Do not remember the past or think of the old. If we start to analyze our life we realize that there are experiences that we would like to change or at least forget about them. These experiences or bad decisions make us suffer today. We would like to go back in time and correct that in order to be happier in the present. That is the great message of the prophet Isaiah today for all of us. The invitation is to think about the present and to see what we can change today, which is within our reach to make our relationship with our family, neighbor and God better.
The time of Lent is precisely for that, it is a time where God rescues us from our past; God rescues us from our sin. God rescues us from the chains that bind us to suffering and bitterness. God wants to make something new in you and in me, are you able to perceive that change? You have to remember the past only in so far as it helps us not to make the same mistakes. We must remember the past so as not to get away from the path and history of our own salvation. But we must never remember the past simply to suffer; we are invited to live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of God in Christ.
Second, Saint Paul gives us a very important advice; “I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.” In our time there is an element of the human being that is capable of transforming the life of every being. Saint Paul reminds us that the things of this world should be considered in little because they do not compare with the gift of Salvation. But for this to happen, we need to follow his advice, “Let Christ take possession of you.”
The prophet Jeremiah is our teacher in this, “You seduced me, Lord, and I let myself be seduced! You were stronger than me, and you conquered me,” (Jr. 20: 7). When we let ourselves be seduced and guided by God, life changes. Life changes for good and for bad. It changes for the good, because it makes us participate in his peace, his salvation, his love, his companionship, he grants us his grace and he promises us eternal life. Life changes for the bad, because we begin to fight against our own demons. We begin to fight against sin; we begin to fight against lies, and deception.
If we think about it, sin is seductive; it induces us to all kinds of pleasures. This type of seduction makes us always live an eternal present that is fed by the past. We understand that the seduction of sin brings bitterness. In the book of Revelation we hear, “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Rv. 12:10). The devil constantly accuses us of what we do wrong, he puts in our face the sins we have committed. Let us avoid the seduction of sin that takes us away from God and brings us closer to evil.
The seduction of Jesus is different, Jesus knows our weaknesses but he calls us by our name, he never calls us for our sin.
Third, In the Gospel of Saint John the following words of Jesus are for us as well, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” In this context of seduction, Jesus is presented with a woman who was caught in adultery. According to the Law of Moses this woman should be stoned to death, the Pharisees and Scribes are the devil’s accusers in this case. They accuse the woman to apply the Mosaic Law and to lay a trap for Jesus at the same time.
How easy it is to condemn, to believe in the monopoly of truth and to administer justice according to our impulses or conveniences. The book of Deuteronomy 22:22 says that both man and woman married, if caught in adultery, both must die. It does not condemn only the woman.
It takes two people to dance tango, who was the man who was caught with this woman? He also had to be stoned to death. The interesting thing is that when Jesus bent down to write something on the floor he asks them a question that leaves them with feet cold, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Jesus takes possession of us; he seduces us and never condemns anyone. Jesus invites us to reflect and put aside the stones of sin that we carry. His mission is to restore our fallen humanity because of sin. Jesus would just ask us to do something, to go and not sin again. This woman after this personal experience with Jesus had to do the penance of her life, she had to recognize that only Jesus liberates, that only Jesus gives life.