A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – CYCLE “C” – 4/7/19 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
You know, most of the time, when we sin, when we make a mistake, even when we make a poor choice, we don’t have to worry about having an audience. The vast majority of our sins, nobody sees but God and us. Oh, we may run a red light, or pass on a little gossip about a co-worker, we may even cuss or use certain hand gestures that we we’re not real proud of, but most of the time, we can conceal our sins fairly easily. That’s changing with the fact that we have cameras everywhere these days. It is not impossible to imagine a time in the not-too-distant future, when YouTube will have channels of videos of all of our sins, our greatest hits, so to speak, posted online for all to see. Want to see that time you had too much to drink, and got pulled over? There it will be, on YouTube! What to remember the humiliation of that last argument with your spouse? Never fear, it is posted right there on Facebook for all to see. Or how about that time that you took those items from work, and the security cameras recorded the whole thing, wouldn’t it just be great if it could be on Instagram so that everybody could your mistake? No, no! It wouldn’t be great. It would be even more humiliating that the sin itself. Sin shames all of us. And we know about sin because we all do sin. Our mistakes, our weakness, our poor choices are bad enough, without the addition of public humiliation.
And that’s why, we come to Mass today, and it is so difficult to hear this story again of this woman caught in the act of adultery. Some good Jews have not been very good, creeping around this poor woman’s private life. This was a set-up. They knew what they were doing. They waited. They watched. It was very important to them, she had to be caught in the act. Now, of course, someone is missing from this little trial. Where’s the guy? Shouldn’t two people have been caught in the act of adultery? Where’s the guy? He was probably one of their friends, or cousins, or co-workers or neighbors. After all, boys will be boys, right? But it is this poor woman is who dragged before Jesus, and put on trial for her life. And isn’t there anybody there that day, besides Jesus, that has any sympathy for the humiliation that this woman is going through? It’s a rather tense day in the town square that day.
The Jewish law was clear. The woman could be put to death by stoning. And the people knew it. In fact, everybody brought their rocks with them that day. They were ready. The men behind this little farce, didn’t care about this woman. She was, as we would say today, collateral damage. They were after Jesus. You see, this could go either one of two ways: Either, Jesus would be merciful, and break the law, and not allow the crowd to kill her. Or He would be true to the Jewish law, allow the woman to be stoned to death for her sin, and be seen to have her blood on His hands. What does Jesus do? He bends down and writes in the dirt. After awhile, Jesus stands up again, and invites those who are without sin, to cast the first stones. Funny thing is, nobody does. And then beginning with the elders, the townsfolks walk away, without anybody throwing a stone!
This is an amazing story. This story reminds us that none of us need to be throwing stones, because we are all guilty of sin. We might not get caught and publically humiliated, but all of us could be! All it takes is the right camera! Besides, God sees everything anyway! We all need God’s great love and mercy. That’s why we need to go to Confession.
Very conveniently this coming Thursday evening, April 11th, we are having our annual Lenten Communal penance service at 7 PM right here in church. You know the drill. Lots of priests from all around the Carmel deanery will be here to help us receive God’s forgiveness. We are running out of time, guys. This is one of the last penance services offered this year, and there’s only one more Saturday of Confessions left also. The Church doesn’t have Confessions on Holy Saturday. If you haven’t been to Confession yet for this Easter, plan now on being here this Thursday evening. Let’s get this taken care of, this week!
+ May God bless us as we seek His mercy and strive to give His mercy to others, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!