March 16, 2013

5th Sunday of Lent - C


A Life-giving Relationship

The gift of being children of God is one of the themes that connects the Gospel readings we hear on Sundays in Lent during the Cycle C year.

We have the figure of Jesus as the ideal Son of God, who overcomes temptations (First Sunday) and is approved by the Father during the Transfiguration, “This is my chosen Son” (Second Sunday).

For the Third Sunday, the Gospel reading teaches us about God’s patience (the parable of the fig tree).

On the Fourth Sunday, we learn that God always loves us as children, though so often we may not live or see ourselves as such.  Remember the younger son wants to be a slave, while the older son sees himself as a slave?  The father, on the contrary, always sees and treats each of them as “my son.”

And for this Fifth Sunday, we witness Jesus reaches out to a sinner with dignity.  

There is a great contrast in the ways the woman is treated.  

The scribes and the Pharisees use her as a trap “to test [Jesus] so that they can have some charge to bring against him.”    

She “was caught in the very act of committing adultery.”  From there, she probably was dragged out, and “made [to] stand in the middle.”

They never speak to her.

With Jesus, she is a person.  “He speaks to her as a woman.  He addresses her as ‘you.’” [1] In fact, this is the first time in the story that anybody speaks to her. [2]

With that, she recognizes Jesus as “Lord” (kyrie) [3] (though it is translated here simply as “sir”).

Once the relationship is established, a path to new life is opened for her.  “Neither do I condemn you.  Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

Not only is her physical life not taken away, she is now offered “[a new] life in a right relationship with God.” [4]   Moreover, she has the freedom to choose it.  

She, a sinner, has been given the life and dignity of the children of God.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 81.

[2], [3] and [4]  Francis J. Moloney, SDB., The Gospel of John.  Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 261 – 262.

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