Sunday, April 7
Fifth Sunday of Lent
John 8: 1 – 11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
This is a story readily familiar to most of us. We can easily relate to Jesus’ heartfelt response, first to the Scribes and Pharisees, and then, when all have left, to the woman. One lens we can apply to this Gospel story is that we are all sinners and regardless of how we might view one sin being more significant than another, all sin turns us away from Father. The woman is indeed a sinner, but she represents all of us – every person who has sinned. The Scribes and Pharisees, who are also sinners represent us as well. It boils down to who is being accused and who is doing the accusing. While we may be the former, we are more often the later, sinning both ways.
We can often find pleasure or humor in our self-righteousness at the expense of other’s bad fortune or sin. Often, we set ourselves up as superior or better than they. If we were in the crowd on that day, what would we have done? Would we have condemned the guilty woman too? How many people have we condemned in our hearts or in our words? Do we relish watching the news or reading the papers with delight as people’s lives are destroyed right in front of our eyes? And more of late, so many are so often falsely accused with no due process. How many people have we passed judgement on? On the other hand, to how many people do we extend a hand of love and compassion as Jesus does today, tomorrow, and always?
-Deacon Don Poirier
OPERATION RICE BOWL STORIES OF HOPE: WEEK 5
Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers, we remember that, Jesus spent years working as a carpenter. Work is important to help people fulfill their potential. And everyone must receive a fair wage to provide for themselves and their families.
Ona always knew she wanted to be a “shining woman” in her community-and an example to her two young daughters. She studied hard and eventually earned her teaching degree from a university. But in Gaza, jobs are hard to find. Even though Ona had been a good student, she could not find work as a teacher.
“The financial situation was so difficult,” Ona says. “I started to feel hopeless.”
That’s why CRS matches workers with job opportunities. Through CRS, Ona applied for an internship as a teacher and was hired to teach math.
Ona knew she wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. “I took time to ask questions and learn. I tried to better myself-and become a better teacher.”
Through her internship, Ona gained the confidence and inspiration to branch out on her own. She saved enough money to open a tutoring center. She now helps students of all ages with their math skills, as well as with other subjects. After one month in business, 41 children had visited her center.
“When people encourage you, you start to think in a more creative way,” Ona says.
As she thinks about the future, she thinks of her children. “I hope I can be an example to my daughters. I hope that my daughters can achieve their dreams.”