Who is the Woman Caught in Adultery? Her Identity Will Surprise You (#616, Lent 5)

Fr. Joel Homilies

Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year C) · What if we knew the woman caught in adultery? What if I was the wo/man – how would I feel? Then picture yourself face to face with Jesus, the “Face of Mercy.” Nothing matters less than the score at halftime. Like this woman and St. Paul, I hope you come to see the face of Jesus during the Year of Mercy.

What was Jesus writing on the ground with his finger?

Jeff Cavins believes he was writing the names of the elders. He draws this from two places, John 7:37-38:

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

Jeremiah 17:13:

Lord, the hope of Israel,
    all who forsake thee shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth,
    for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.

Jesus is accusing the elders of adultery against God himself. They have rejected God’s offer of life through Jesus, and have sought righteousness in themselves and their own works. Despite their hard efforts they are not free from sin, and therefore have no right to stone another. They leave one by one in the order their names are written in the temple.

Jesus is talking about us. “I don’t need to go to Church to be a good person.” Are you trusting in Christ, or are you trusting in yourself? The adulterous woman is us. We the Church have not been faithful to our God. We have sought life elsewhere rather than turning to Christ.

How does Jesus solve the problem of our adultery?

ISIS hates adulterers and stones them. Hollywood welcomes sin and uses sinners. Only Jesus loves the woman. He loves her so much that he takes her place. Jesus lets the crowd accuse him and stone him to death on the cross. Jesus dies for sin. That is God’s answer to our sinfulness. How do we respond? Do we say, “That’s OK Jesus, I’m basically a good person. I’m not a saint, but I’m getting better.” Or do we say:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Living God,
have mercy on me,
a sinner.

(13 Mar 2016)

Point to Ponder: Listen to Jeff Cavins on the 5th Sunday of Lent (where I stole all my good ideas). What is the “something new” that God wants to do in your life?

Point to Discuss: Sit down with a friend and get out your Bibles and discuss the scriptures mentioned above: John 7:37-John 8:11 and Jeremiah 17.

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