Fifth Sunday of Lent
Call to worship
During this last week of Lent, we recognize how God is doing something new within us. As Christ touches the woman caught in adultery, so also does he touch us with generous and nonjudgmental love.
- To the point: The scribes and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus and “made her stand in the middle.” In their self-righteousness they wished to make an example of her as a grave sinner deserving of death. Ironically, Jesus makes an example of them as sinners: they turned away from him and “went away one by one.” The woman, however, remained with Jesus. Our own work during Lent is like that of the adulterous woman: truthfully face our sinfulness and faithfully remain with Jesus. Though we sin, Jesus only wishes new life for us.
- Connecting the Gospel (John 8:1-11) to the second reading: Paul admonishes us not to be prisoners of our sinfulness but to strain forward to the new life that lies ahead. This new life is the “supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus” and remaining with him (“be found in him”).
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: When we focus exclusively on our own sinfulness we can easily lose sight of our goodness and God’s mercy. Jesus responds even to profound sin with even more profound mercy.
(John 8: 1-11)
In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?
They brought out a law about adultery
from somewhere and you ignored them,
and wrote on the ground, “I’m doing something new.”
They said, “Kill her.” “Fine,” you said. “The sinless one
should throw the first stone.”
No one did.
“Go and sin no more,” you said.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Then let us be your mercy to all others
on the planet and to the planet itself.
The First Reading
(Isaiah 43: 16-21)
Remember not the events of the past. See, I am doing something new!
Jesus, you are the Father’s gift,
always present, always new.
Please help us find you
in all the new paths you might
be making in the deserts of Ukraine,
in climate change and racial justice.
You are the cool water,
freshening our everyday lives.
Please, let us all drink deeply.
The Second Reading
(Philippians 3: 8-14)
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish.
Jesus, give us power to accept the loss
of all things in order to gain you.
In you is everything. Help us say yes.
We are your “masterpieces in the making.” *
* Desmond Tutu
Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection