Homily for the fifth Sunday of Lent - Year C - Jn. 8:1-11
 
 
by
 
Father Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
"Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
 
"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, « Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her? » This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.
 
"Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, « Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. » And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, « Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? » She said, « No one, Lord. » And Jesus said, « Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again. »"
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
"Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them."
 
Jesus was in the temple and he taught the crowd: "All the people came to him." Jesus teaches the crowd: he is the doctor of the law of love! Jesus is the incarnated Word, he is the Word of God become a Man! It is he to whom we must listen, because he has the words of eternal life. Saint Peter said it thus: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." (Jn. 6:68-69) Let us imitate the Jewish people who rushed to listen to the Lord, let us listen with the ear of our heart to the breath of the Spirit of God who inspires us to live in virtue and to flee sin. The Spirit is pure, because he is Holy, and his dearest desire is to inspire in us purity of heart and body!
 
"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, « Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her? »"
 
While Jesus, the doctor of Heaven, inspires purity through his Spirit of Love, the doctors of the earth, the scribes and the pharisees, wished to imitate him by repressing vices of all kinds in their own way. But the intention of the these earthly doctors was itself not pure! How unfortunate! To want to fight impurity with an impure intention! What imposture! What deceit and what duplicity! And Saint John concludes: "This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him." That is truly something that is typical of false and lying minds: to pretend to do what is good with the intention of doing what is perverse! Yes! Jesus is attacked by his enemies. Let us see how he defends himself...
 
"Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground."
 
Jesus wrote: he didn't say anything. But what did he write? Simply the truth! It is clear that the scribes and the pharisees who interrogated Jesus had deceitful minds. So Jesus wrote the truth, because only the truth can save us from sin. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! And in Jesus, there is no sin. The truth saves us from sin! When the scribes and the pharisees looked at what Jesus wrote, they understood immediately that what he wrote accused them of sinning! Their conscience was not clear, but perhaps they still had enough honesty to have the courage to withdraw in the face of the truth which Jesus put before their eyes. Perhaps it was also due to fear of public opinion that they withdrew, confused and ashamed to be publicly accused by the doctor of Heaven!
 
"Jesus looked up and said to her, « Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? » She said, « No one, Lord. » And Jesus said, « Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again. »"
 
The adulterous woman was alone with Jesus. Those who wanted to condemn her had run away! Definitely, while Jesus wrote on the ground, many things occurred in the soul and in the mind of this woman! Would she have believed a short while before that it would all end in this manner? Probably not. But now, she had discovered the heart of Jesus: she saw someone defending a sinner, and, in her heart, she turned to the one who wanted to save her at any cost. She was converted while Jesus accused the scribes and the pharisees. So Jesus, who knows all things, and who knows what happened within the soul of this woman, does not condemn the one who is before him; he merely says to her: "Go, and do not sin again."
 
This is also what Jesus says to us today. "Go, and do not sin again." Let us desire in our heart to live good lives, in the purity of heart and body. Let us appeal to Mary, so that she intercedes for us: may Mary give us the graces that we need in order for us to listen and to follow the voice of the Spirit of God, her Spouse! May, Jesus-Eucharist, through Mary, be our strength and our succor today and always!
 

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