Homily from Sunday April 03rd, 2022: 5th Sunday of Lent

What links all the readings today is letting the past be the past and letting the future be the future.

People who have suffered greatly have two options: either to wallow in past misery over injustice, or to take up the reins again and begin anew. Prisoners of the past have no future. Sinners who are obsessed with the past will fail to see the new things God is doing. What is jolting about the readings are that God tells the people: Remember not the events of the past – the things of long ago consider not.

The Gospel tells us that in front of all the people a woman was dragged in front of Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. Consider the effort that went into catching her in the act. She is pulled forward just to make a point in front the staring crown, but their real interest was not her particular sin but in discrediting Jesus.

They said that according to Moses’ law she should be stoned to death. Of course, it was a trap. If Jesus said stone her, He would violate Roman law, because only the Romans could execute. If he said “Let her go” He would be diminishing the authority of Moses. So they were trying to get him to choose between Moses and Rome. But Jesus took his time knowing that this was neither the time nor the place for a debate when this woman was standing there so vulnerable.

The last thing she needed at this point was to be the object of a debate. But the Gospel says they persisted in questioning Him; so the response of Jesus was: Let those among you who have no sin be the 1st to throw a stone. The Gospel says that they then began to leave one by one. And Jesus looked at this trembling woman, abandoned even by her lover and asks her isn’t anyone here to condemn you? Then I won’t condemn either, you are now free to go, but from now on avoid sin.

Let the past be the past and the future be the future. She knew her past. The whole town knew her past. But when the Lord brought her pardon, Jesus gave her a future. Isn’t that what the forgiveness of God is all about, to be restored to dignity, to be healed and made whole again, to be given a new future?

The repentance that saves is not constant self-scourging but a new birth of faith and of loyalty to Christ. Regret dwells in the past. Repentance looks to the future.

We all wish we could go back and make some decisions differently.

Today’s Gospel teaches us that there is Someone more interested in restoring our life than in taking it. There is Someone more interested in healing us than increasing our hurt. There is Someone more interested in our future than in our past.

2 thoughts on “Insights from Fr. Dan: April 3, 2022

  1. Thank you so much Ellen – this is excellent and I so enjoy rereading Fr. Dan’s insights as I find myself ‘somewhat’ distracted when he’s doing it live!!:)) I don’t do Facebook, Twitter, etc. so can’t give you kudos on those platforms but you are doing an excellent job. Thank you. Aileen


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