March 25, 2007 5th Sunday of Lent yearC

Scripture: Gospel of John 8:1-11

The Gospels of the 3rd, 4th, and today 5th Sunday of Lent are very special. All 3 emphasize a basic truth that will set us free. That truth is: God loves us as we are. God knows how weak we are and is so patient with us. Our God is definitely NOT a punishing God.

These 3 Gospels are (1) The parable of the non fruit-bearing fig tree ("Don't cut it down, I will tenderly nurture it" says the gardener. Then (2) the parable of the ever-loving father who waits for and runs out to welcome his returning prodigal son. Then today (3) Jesus puts these teaching into action. A woman is taken in adultery. "Stone her" say the cold unforgiving Pharisees. They are so judgmental. Jesus says: "Anyone of you who has not sinned please throw the first stone!" They all slink away.

I personally delight in the line drawings of the Swiss artist Annie Vallotton in the "Good News Bible." One drawing shows Jesus in today's Gospel so humanly doodling in the dust. This is followed by Jesus looking right into the face of this poor woman. Jesus looked into the face of Zachaeus up the tree - that look of understanding changed his life. Jesus looked at Peter who had just rejected him 3 times. That look on Jesus' compassionate face changed Peter's life from despair to hope. The same gentle look on Jesus' face changed the life of the woman in today's Gospel.

But it is very important to remember that the gentle looks of Jesus, our God are not just event of 2,000 years ago. He looks on you and me with the same gentleness and understanding today. Therefore we read in the letter to the Hebrews: 'let us approach this throne of grace and compassion with confidence.' That is what prayer is about. Let us try it!

"O Lord, my heart tells me to pray. I am eager to see your face. So do not hide from me!" Psalm 27:8 (C.E.V.)

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