Fifth Sunday of Lent
Sunday April 7, 2019
Fifth Sunday of Lent – Year C Readings
A Reading from the Gospel according to John
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.”
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Today’s readings promise us a life that never dies if we live and believe in the Spirit of Jesus Christ who dwells in us. St. Francis de Sales reflects on these promises: “When the falconer removes the hood from his bird, the bird sights its prey and spreads its wings, ready to fly and capture its prey. Held back by the falconer, the bird struggles to free itself from him. So too when faith removes the veil of ignorance from us, we see that our supreme good is in God. We then desire to fly to God but the conditions of this mortal life hold us back. Our ardor may subsequently turn to sadness.
However, we must not lose courage and reduce ourselves to despair. Through a thousand promises made in Scripture and the holy inspirations placed in our heart, God strongly assures us that we can attain a life of infinite goodness. Yet, we must be willing to use the means God offers us. If you live under the Crucified Lord, progressively your desire for God’s goodness turns into hope animated by God’s love. Our Savior will never let you go if you choose Him. When you are completely restored to health by divine love that the Spirit of Jesus pours into your heart, you can go forward and stand by yourself in virtue of your new health and holy love.
While our human nature will always produce self-centered desires and thoughts, they need not delay us on our journey toward loving God’s goodness and doing God’s work. Happy are they whose self-giving love is in the service of God. God will never let them remain barren and unfruitful! Even though they give up only a little for God, God will shower abundant blessings on them in this life and in the next. God’s assurance through many promises of paradise infinitely strengthens our desire to pursue the enjoyment of God’s goodness in Jesus Christ whose Spirit dwells in us.
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)