Study: Reflect on a time in life when you made a grave mistake or serious sin. How did you face it?
Pray: Is there something that is keeping you from the Lord or another person? Ask the Lord for the grace to reconcile.
Serve: Is there a situation in your life that offers you a chance to extend mercy? Consider ways to make it happen.
Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of Lent
Have you ever been clearly in the wrong? Made a mistake that was self-evident and completely your own fault? Don’t worry…you’re in good company. As much as we don’t like to admit it or claim it, we have all fallen short of the Lord’s commandments. We sin.
There are a couple of easy traps that we need to avoid:
- Assuming that it is no big deal, and downplaying our fault
- Making it an all-consuming mountain, beyond hope of redemption
What we find in the Gospel today is something in between that exemplifies God’s Mercy. The woman caught in adultery (where’s the man?!) is dragged before the Lord and forced to stand out in her shame as the people try to trap Jesus.
His response is profound. “Let the one among you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the realization of their own sins causes the crowd to dwindle away; they have all fallen short, and they have all been in need of mercy.
Yet the Lord is not done. After all, he is the only one without sin in the group! He alone has the right to carry out judgment. Yet this is what he says:
“Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin.”
Note both points:
- Jesus acknowledges the sin. It is clearly and directly stated.
- Jesus extends mercy. His mercy begins her reconciliation and healing.
In light of this Gospel I suggest the following takeaways:
- What sins do we need to acknowledge, confess, and claim?
- What steps do we need to take to start the process of reconciliation?
- We draw near to Christ…who extends mercy to us!
As we embark on the last weeks of Lent, may we never fear to approach the Lord in our sins. For as we honestly claim our faults we draw forgiveness from the one who came to save and set us free.
If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years. Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:
Podcast Resources for a Powerful Lent
Catholic Inspiration Archives
Note: This post was first published on March 8, 2016.
Photo Credit: The Passion of the Christ, 2004.