Merciful Father – Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
The reading of today, the 5th Sunday of Lent, makes us understand that God is very forgiving and keeps no account of our sins. If we are to pick up a piece of paper and write all our sins since we were born, we would feel embarrassed. However, God will neither embarrass nor humiliate us. He covers our sinfulness and protects us. He does this, not because we deserve it, but because He is full of compassion, mercy and justice.
In the second reading of today, St Paul gives us a glimpse of God’s temperament. He was captured by Christ and this led to his personal salvation and the salvation of the Christian community. Paul’s story tells us that God condemns no one unless the person condemns him or herself by refusing to accept Jesus.
In the gospel reading, we are introduced to three characters. It is in these three characters that we learn about ourselves. They are:
- The Scribes and the Pharisees
- The woman
The Scribes and Pharisees are the righteous ones but they are also sinners in need of justice. To be one of them is to spread false news that would destroy the character of another person and bring them public shame. It also means being self-righteous and saying nothing of the other person unless it is negative. This also includes church-going that has no effect on our spiritual lives especially when we continue to pass judgement upon others.
The woman was totally humiliated and disgraced without the man who committed adultery with her being humiliated. She was a victim of circumstance but God defends and upholds the case of the helpless. Christ is the refuge of sinners. He came to heal the broken-hearted and bind their wounds. He gave the woman a second chance so that she could rebuild her life all over. This is the same for us especially those of us with cancer, HIV, etc. God is giving us all a chance to start all over and rebuild. We must not surrender. Something good is about to happen.
Christ exhibits his compassion towards the woman. When the others dropped their stones and walked away, it will just Christ and the woman. This is how it will be at the end of life. It will be just you and God. Neither your wife, children, nor friends will be there. It will just be you and God face to face. Will He justify you like He justified the woman?
May God help us to flee from sin towards his merciful and compassionate arms through Christ Our Lord. Amen.