FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
This weekend we hear another of the great gospel stories of mercy as we continue our journey of mercy. Following on from the parable of the prodigal Son we hear the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus did not deny the Scribes and Pharisees the right to carry out this prescription of the Law, but he insisted on one condition, namely, that they have no sin on their consciences.”Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” So many of us today are like the Pharisees in that we are prepared to lift the stone and be the first person to throw it despite our own shortcomings. This story is about so much more that throwing the stones it is really about God’s mercy to the woman and by association God’s mercy to us. When Jesus and the woman were left alone, he looked up and said, “Woman, where are they?” Ironically, the self-righteous observers of the Law, so eager to throw stones, could not measure up to the requirement that Jesus had laid down and all of them had left.
After they had gone, Jesus lifted up his eyes to the woman looking at her with the eyes of gentleness; he asks her, ‘Has no one condemned you?’ She replies, ‘No one, Lord.’ And he says, ‘Neither do I condemn you. What does this say to you and me today as so many of us are prepared to throw stones of condemnation at so many people and of course there are also people who would throw stones at us as well. If we remember what Jesus tells us when he says let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone then we won’t go far wrong. The simple truth whether we like it or not is that all of us are sinners and none of us are in a position to throw the stone!! As we continue our celebration of the Year of Mercy let us ask the Lord to show us his mercy especially as we head towards Palm Sunday and Holy Week.