Posted by: frburke23 | March 17, 2013

Thought for the 5th Sunday of Lent

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”


I just returned from a wonderful Men’s Spanish Cursillo tonight.  It was a wonderful Cursillo weekend, with 21 candidates.  The grace of God was palpable in the retreat house.  I don’t have time to write a new reflection so I thought I would submit a former reflection on Sunday’s Gospel. 

This is one of my favorite Scripture passages today – the woman caught in adultery.  There is much to learn and contemplate in this story.  First of all, the Pharisees bring the woman to Jesus claiming that they caught her in adultery. Where was the man?  She could be stoned to death for this offense.

They were trying to trap Jesus.  If he told them they couldn’t stone her He would be going directly against the law.  If he told them to stone her He would be going against His own teaching of love and mercy.  So Jesus began to write in the sand.  What was He writing?  Some say He was writing the sins of the men.  Others say he was just passing time until He came up with a good solution to this dilemma.

Always with the right words to say, Jesus says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  This was brilliant!  It made them think about their own sinfulness.  They realized how judgmental they were without looking into their own lives.  Before we start to judge someone else for their sins, may we look into our own hearts.  We probably should drop the stones that we want to hurl at others.  We are all great sinners in need of God’s mercy.  May we stop feeling self-righteous and seek God’s love and mercy.

When they had considered their own sins, they all left.  Jesus asked the woman, “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  She replied, “No one, sir.”   Jesus is not here to condemn us.  Other people are going to say things about us, but it shouldn’t matter as long as we are seeking the love and mercy of God the Father. 

So Jesus let her go, but He called her to greater holiness.  Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.  Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”  He forgives us and at the same time, calls us to live holy lives.  Is it possible to live a sinless life?  Not here on earth, but we certainly can grow in holiness by minimizing our sinfulness and cooperating with God’s grace.

Do not remain in your sins.  Trust in God’s mercy, but at the same time work and pray to become more like Christ every day.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke



  1. Tx burke

    Sent from my U.S. Cellular Smartphone

  2. Fr. Burke,
    You always have so much great pondering.

    Your Sept 9, 2012 post in Sept has put a big impression upon my heart. If we know someone is sinning we were suspose to bring it to their attention….. and Sundays gospel (todays post) was not condemning people who sin.

    Can I ask you a question so I understand this correctly? We are suspose to bring sin to someones attention but not condemn them?….because we are sinners ourselves. Correct? Any further guidance will be appriciated.

    Gets a little confusing…
    Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
    Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
    inasmuch as you are unleavened.
    For our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
    Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
    not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
    but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    Thanks….God Bless.

    • Rhonda, you are correct. Love means that I desire the best for the other person. It is not selfish. It seeks the best for the other. And the best for anyone is eternal life. So if we see that someone is putting their soul in jeopardy by sin, it is our responsibility, in love, to share this with them. It must be done in a way that is not condemning because they will turn us off. We should come to them in a spirit of humility and love. And it always works better if we have an established relationship with the person. If they know that we love them, they tend to take our advice better. Otherwise they say, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” Hope this helps.

      fr. burke

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