The Gospel Today
Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):
We are now in the last week of Lent before we enter the climax of our preparation for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. For today’s Gospel, allow me to reflect on the three characters of the story. These are the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the Woman and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sadducees and the Pharisees were the people whom the community respected because of they had s well grasp of the law particularly the Torah. They were the keepers of the Law. The Sadducees and Pharisees were amazing because they know even the small details of the laws and the commandments. However, their use of the knowledge of the laws made them proud and arrogant. The law, instead of serving the people, the people serves the law. Worst of all these is they used the law for their personal interest identifying others to be impure and making themselves righteous and holy in the eyes of people as in the narrative in the Gospel for today. There are also some modern day Pharisees and Sadducees.
Now let us look the behavior of the adulterous woman. She didn’t speak a single word in the Gospel. I cannot imagine her feelings and the insult that she experienced during that time. She might be pushed in a corner where all people including bystanders saw her. Her meekness and may be her gesture during that time signified that she was so sorry and deep within her, full repentance for the sin that she committed.
Finally, let us see the way our Lord Jesus Christ approached the matter. He was calm and showed intense of mercy and compassion. In addition, He shamed those who insulted the woman and made her sinful while pointing to themselves their righteousness. He saved the woman’s life although he didn’t tolerate her sin. Jesus told her not sin anymore.
I believe tomorrow’s Gospel challenges us to be compassionate with our brethren. Sin should not be tolerated but a person who commits sin should not be condemned but rather be led to be reconciled to God through prayers and make the person realize how much God loves him/her. A person who experiences the saving love of God will surely be faithful to God, similar to the adulterous woman.