Weekly Reflection 4/7/19


Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 6-7, 2019

                In sharing a “Best Lent Ever” message with my wife, a question was posed, “Who are you?”  Ironically, a similar question was discussed in our Alpha Lent small group a few days later.  While I have had many titles and roles throughout my life, I have always been and always will be a storyteller.

                Today’s Gospel has every element of a great story; multi-layered characters, a desperate situation, a protagonist fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds, and a surprising plot twist.  Yet this is so much more than a story.  It is a lesson by God, through His Son, as to how we are to treat others.

                Imagine the scene.  Jesus is teaching on the temple grounds when the Jewish leaders drag a distraught, partially undressed woman through the crowd and forces her to stand in front of Him.  The accusers claim the woman was caught in the very act of adultery.  Knowing this act is punishable by death, the scribes and Pharisee literally place the case at the feet of Christ.

                Jesus knows that by the Jewish Leaders saying the woman was caught in the very act of adultery that this was a trap.  Where were these men hiding to spy on the woman?  Where is the woman’s male partner?  The crowd wants blood.  The Pharisees want condemnation.  Jesus gives them neither.  Instead, He writes something in the dirt.

                What did Jesus write?  Does it matter?  Whatever it was, it called for an examination of conscious by all present.  Faced with their own hypocrisy they melt away, leaving only the accused and the Lord.  Even the woman expects to be punished, but instead she receives mercy.

                Chances are we find ourselves in every character in this story.  Like the Pharisees, haven’t there been times in our lives when we have accused, embarrassed and ostracized someone?  How often have we joined the crowd, ignoring what we know is right and without the fortitude to stand up to the mob mentality.

                Then we remember when we have been condemned, stripped of our dignity and left without hope.  It may have been as a result of our own failing.  Regardless, in those moments we ask for forgiveness and understanding.

                In turn, Jesus calls us to show mercy and empathy for others.  As Christians we must lift others up, not tear them down.  When we forget to do so, we need only look at the writings in the dirt directed at us.

                                                                                                            ~    Patrick J. Perkins