FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR C – 2nd / 3rd April, 2022

There is hypocrisy in the actions of the scribes and Pharisees. These were the scholars of the Jewish Law, perhaps the equivalent of today’s lawyers. Firstly, they only bring along one of the guilty parties, the woman, while the male partner is free from public condemnation. Secondly, their concern is not really with this woman. She is a pawn in their real purpose, which is to find something against Jesus. In this, they have no real respect for the Law they claim to uphold. And finally, as Jesus points out, they too are sinners. Why might this story be so important for the early Christian communities, so that even though there is uncertainty about its location there can be no doubt about its inclusion within the good news Jesus offers? Perhaps John’s or Luke’s community needed to be reminded that for all our Christian ideals and desires, we are all frail followers of Jesus, but sin is no barrier to discipleship. The only barrier is the despair that comes from self-condemnation and a failure to trust in God who refuses to condemn. Jesus does not condemn the woman even as he encourages going and striving to live without sin. As the journey of Lent moves to its end, let us place our confidence in the loving mercy of God.