#Dignity, 5th Sunday of Lent, April 7, 2019

Video from MENOFLIGHTAMANU

The Woman and Jesus’ Mercy

5th Sunday of Lent [April 7, 2019] John 8:1-11

adulterous woman 3Adultery is a serious sin according to the Law of Moses. It is a violence against the Basic Law, the Ten Commandments. It is in fact, one of the few crimes that are punishable by death [Lev 20:10]. Why so cruel? It is a grave sin because adultery profanes the holiness of marriage and the gift of sexuality. In the Book of Genesis, God has willed that man and woman through marriage and their sexuality participate in God’s work of creation and caring of creation. Since marriage is a sacred calling, violation to this holy mission is an utmost insult to God who calls man and woman into marriage.

Some Jewish people bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. It is a tough dilemma for Jesus who knows well the Law of Moses. If Jesus agrees to stone the woman, He upholds the Law of Moses, but He is going to invalidate His preaching of mercy and forgiveness. If Jesus refuses to condemn the woman, He violates the Law of Moses, condones the evil committed by the woman, and denies the justice of God. Stoning means he is not merciful but refusing to stone means he is not just. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Jesus then begins to write on the ground. The Gospel does not specify what Jesus writes, but we may come up with an intelligent guess. In original Greek, to write is “grapho”, but in this episode, the word used is “katagraho”, and this can be translated as “to write against”. Jesus is writing the sins of the people who brought the woman. Jesus says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (Jn. 8:7).” After Jesus reveals their sins, they realize that they themselves deserve to be stoned. They go away, leaving Jesus and the woman.

The Law of Moses states that both man and woman caught in adultery shall be punished, but where is the man? Jesus points out that she is merely a pawn used to trick Jesus, and some are ready to sacrifice this woman just to get what they want. Her humanity is disregarded, her identity as a daughter of God is trampled, and she is treated as a mere tool. Manipulating our neighbors, especially the weak and the poor, for our own gain is a graver sin than adultery!

Jesus knows that the woman has committed a serious sin, but she herself is a victim of injustice and more serious sin. Jesus surely hates evil, but He forgives the woman and gives her a second chance because He understands what has happened to her. She has fallen into sin because of her human weakness and temptation, but God is greater than all ugly things that has befallen her, if she just repents and goes back to God.

There was a movie entitled “Malena”. It was the story of a beautiful woman in an Italian rural village during World War II. She received news that her husband died in the war. After this, her father, her only family, also died when the German planes bombed their village. Because of the poverty and desperation to survive, she was forced into prostitution, even to serve the German soldiers. After the loss of German forces, the villagers condemned her not only as a whore but also as a traitor. She was expelled from the village with humiliation. Surprisingly, her husband came back to the village, alive. He learned of what happened to his wife. Instead of condemning his wife, and looking for another wife, he fetched his wife and brought her back to the village. He proudly walked with his wife around the village as if telling everyone, “it is not her fault that she becomes a prostitute. She is still my faithful wife!”

Mercy gives justice is the beauty. With mercy, we see the bigger picture of our own and other people’s failures. Mercy empowers us to be patient with others and ourselves.

Deacon Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno
with
Harry Setianto Sunaryo SJ., Xenon Oble and Marvin Obedo

Sometimes pain & suffering can bring us back 2 our senses & appreciate the blessings we take 4 granted. See pain as God’s voice calling us bak 2 Him. Listen. Repent.

Jesus appreciated d scribe’s affirmation abt d commandment of love. Yet d scribe is stil far frm God’s Kingdom. 4 love is not wat we know but wat we do. It is not an intention. Love is an action. Show love in concrete. Do it.

Jesus worked to restore d unity bet. man & God, a unity disrupted & destroyed by sin. D devil, on d other hand, promoted chaos & division. To w/c side do u belong? Work 4 Jesus, not for d demon.

Prayer is a relationshp bet. God & man. Lyk any relationshp, d mor constant & frequent d connection in prayer, d mor this relationship grows in intimacy. Ask mor than material favors. Pray 2 lav God mor. Seek not jz things but relational gains.

Fight d devil’s temptation strategies: 1. He attacks us wher he knows we are weak. Pray & be strong. 2. He uses d scriptures. Know & liv God’s words. 3. He looks 4 another “time”. Be vigilant & prepared.

D Pharisees & d scribes seem 2 feel uncomfortable & unhapi wen others are hapi & enjoying. They think happiness is theirs alone. Jesus brings joy 2 evri1. Share others’ joy & pain. But dnt be a source of their suffering.

Wen Jesus is d reason 4 everything we do, losing our lives 4 him is not a loss but a gain. Fear no pain or suffering. Going thru hell is nothing as long as we reach heaven.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be “show offs” or perform righteous deeds to gain the praises of men. God will repay us for our “secret” good deeds. Do good. But be mindful why u do it. Please God rather than men & attain heaven.

Wat does salt hav 2 do w/ peace? The salt preserves & gives taste. Here, 4 Jesus it means something that can help have peaceful & lasting relationships: Sacrifice Attention Love/laughter Time. Live a SALTy lifestyle.

Children are Jesus’ favorites bcoz in their weakness & helplessness, they seek others’ help. Their greatness lies in the acceptance of their nothingness. Let our weaknesses bring us to our knees. We are nobody. To God be the glory.

These words of Jesus are difficult but not impossible to do, hard but w/ heroic effort, demanding but mending. To love is human. To love one’s enemies is divine. Where human effort alone may fail, let God’s grace fulfill.

Peter, who hardly knew wat 2 say bcoz of fear, saw beauty in Jesus’ transfiguration. Life shows us terrifying experiences & yet we cn see some beauty in thm. Transfiguration & disfiguration challenge us 2 stay positive bcoz Jesus is w/ us.

Peter thinks of glory, kingship & a leader w/o undergoing pain & suffering. Jesus is the suffering servant who brings glory in spite & thru pain. Fear no pain. Suffering & death are nothing when we gain heaven.

Forgetfulness is costly. Hv u experienced missing a flyt, leaving somethng at home, not attending someone’s special event bcoz u forgot? It costs time, effort, money & relationships. Protect urself frm danger & sin. Remember God’s promis of heven.

Jesus wud not hear d question of his disciples where 2 get enough bread in a deserted place 4 many ppol. Do not be stifled or paralyzed by lack of resources. W/ faith in Jesus, u can even have a surplus. He is our sure “plus”.

Businesses, backed up by all sorts of claims, promote a “germ-free” society, w/ clean food, soaps & sanitizers. Promote a personal “sin-free”, guilt-free lifestyle. Stay clean & pure in thots, words & deeds. Stay undefiled.

Peter’s admission of his sinfulness didnt stop Jesus frm choosing him & making him d leader of his church. Jesus sees beyond our imprfections & givs us our mission. Nvr fear abt ur past or future failure. Trust His trust in u.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

At times, our knowledge abt pipol hinders us or stands as obstacle to let them prove themselves or their worth. For Jesus, there is something mysterious in each person. Allow that mystery to come out. Give pipol a chance to “shine”

Rejection spares no one. But wat’s important is hw we face it. Jesus, amidst threat 2 his life, simply “passed through d midst” of d crowd & “went away”. Stay strong & focused on ur mission. Reject rejection.

Jesus was accused of doing things thru d devil’s power. Ppol may call us names may be bcoz they dnt knw us, dnt understand us, try 2 discredit or destroy our credibility. Know urself. Prove pipol wrong by ur good deeds & actions.

Jesus is accustomed to doing religious acts. How do u spend ur “sabbath”? Regularly read the Bible; “believe what u read; teach what u biliv; live wht u teach.” 

It is truly disheartening when those closest to u, or those whom u presume know u personally, are d ones who fail 2 understand or support u. Stand firm. U work 4 God, not 4 them.

It is said that “Necessity is the mother of inventions.” D 4 men, not limited by d situation, w/ faith, acted creatively. Faith is powerful. Dnt put limit 2 it. Be creative, inventive & resourceful.

When fame, wealth or power come 2 one’s head, they can destroy his life. Jesus did not come 4 fame but 2 save us frm shame. He did not come 2 establish a name, but 2 establish relationships. Avoid d glitter of fame. Embrace his life.

Was this Jesus’ occasional or regular home visit? For “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick w/ a fever.” They told him about her & he cured her. Take time to visit or call someone today. Show them ur concern & care.

At this point in his life, Jesus is a man of success bcoz he accomplished wat prophet Isaiah said abt him. Wat abt us? Wat hv we accomplished so far? Have we brought glad tidings 2 d poor? Be a glad tiding to others.

Jesus fed them w/ “multiplied” bread. He walked on d water & quieted a stormy sea. Still his disciples’ hearts were hardened. Unbelievable? Aren’t we like them sometimes? Yet God is patient w/ us all the time. What a great God we have!

Christ is our light. He came to conquer death, the consequence of the darkness of sin. Let Jesus overshadow whatever is still dark in you. Live in God’s grace, in faith, love & good deeds. Start anew.

Amidst our pressing concerns & activities, we may become so busy that we often lose sight of d divine in d mundane things. Look around & see Jesus in pipol, places & events and declare in faith: I have found d Messiah. Or simply allow him 2 find u

In an outburst of praise & thankfulness, Mary recalled & enumerated d good things d Lord has done 2 Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.her & 2 His pipol. Like Mary, count & appreciate ur blessings. Thankfulness is a secret to happiness. Be grateful. Be joyful.

Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.

Wen in crisis or difficulties, some ppol resort 2 stress eating, go into sports or other activities. Like Joseph, w/ confidence in God, we can sleep on our troubles. God is in control

Today’s readings teach us how 2 rejoice: 1st Rdg & Resp. Ps: -God is in & among u/ur midst 2nd Rdg: -by kindness & thanksgiving Gospel: -generously share wat u hav -be fair & just -dnt take advantage of pipol -be contented -be humble like John Rejoice!

John’s greatness is the greatness of being Jesus’ precursor & the greatness of courage. Introduce Jesus to others like John. Fearlessly denounce injustice, immorality & sins on any given chance.

Imagine losing some pipol u love for years. And for God, imagine losing us 4 eternity. That’s why He looks 4 us & rejoices in finding us. Help those who seem lost in life. Bring them bak 2 God.

Life cn intoxicate us w/ material or spiritual desires tht either we possess or possess us. Stay sober & moderate. Vice & sin destroy. Discipline urself b4 it’s too late

Leaving the boat & their father, the disciples are entering into a new way of living & relationship. Don’t be intimidated by anything new when Jesus is with you. He is the new “new” that calls you to a better “new” you.

Persecutions, like problems in life, may be viewed as difficulties to run away from. But they may also be taken as opportunities to grow, to shine & to be better. Never fear pain & sufferings. They are chances for us to gain the “championship ring”.

The end-time that Jesus predicted may frighten us. But there is one consolation. It’s not going to take place at once. That means we have time to prepare, to repent, to love. Let not what’s scary make you worry.

Generosity is not about wealth or poverty. It is the attitude of giving not what we have but what and who we are. You are generous for who you are, not how much you give.

Jesus knew what wud happen to Jerusalem & its pipol & the causes of d bad events to come. Stay close to Jesus. Do what he commands u to do. Sufferings & pains wud come, but obeying him makes us safe & sound.

What the wicked servant said to the king was used against him. The king condemned him for his own words. Be careful of ur action & words. They may be used against you. Say & do only what builds others up & makes a better you.

To pray persistently like the widow in the parable, wanting swift justice to be served, demands a strong faith. Whatever it is u are asking from God, just dnt giv up praying. His timing is perfect. Just wait in faith.

Pipol are always running in pursuit of many things, even in matters of faith: in haste of finding God, His presence or His answer 2 their prayers. Believe & stay calm. Live & promote the gospel values of life & love. There God is found.

Gratitude is an attitude. It does not come frm one’s nationality, religion, profession or education. It is an expression of appreciation 4 a favor or blessing received or evn anticipated. Say thank you 2day. Evriday.

Jesus wants us to watch out & be careful. He knows that committing sin is inevitable. But to cause others to sin is 4 him more woeful & terrible. Bring others to God & not to the devil.

How many lost souls hav we found & brought back 2 God? Have we exerted efforts, like a shepherd, 2 lead them back 2 Him? Is someone in ur family or circle of friends in need of guidance & direction? Dnt be indifferent. Do something.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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