Sunday, March 17, 2013

Something New: Reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sorry I didn't get one out last week. My son was sick so I didn't do much of anything last weekend but comfort a cranky, clingy 10-month-old. So, this week, I'm not sure where to begin. There are so many gems in this week's readings. How about the Old Testament?

The Isaiah reading contains one of my all time favorite bible verses:

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
-Isaiah 43:18-19a

In two weeks we will be celebrating Easter. I'm sure that is the 'something new' that the Church wants us to think about when we read this passage.


But don't you want to apply that passage to your everyday life? I know I do. Like everyone else in the world, there are a lot of things in my past I regret. And I think that we can apply it to our lives. 

Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind 
but straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I continue my pursuit toward the goal, 
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:13b-14

The second reading contains this gem. For me, this just reiterates the Isaiah passage. Think of it this way. God is telling you to let go of your past. A great book for this I've always enjoyed was Traveling Light by Max Lucado. It was one of the first books I read when I converted to Christianity because I had a lot of baggage particularly from my past experiences with Christian churches. God doesn't want us to carry around all this regret and shame. He wants to do something new for us though His Son, Jesus.

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.”
-John 8:1-11

Read that Gospel out loud. Maybe break out some Ignatian Contemplation. Put yourself in the woman's shoes. There is a crowd that is about to kill you. A Stranger you do not know (but you might have heard about) stands up for you. He tells you that He does not condemn you and sends you on your way to not sin anymore.

What a great set of readings for just 2 weeks before Easter! God freeing you from your past in order to celebrate the resurrection with joy!  
Read the readings for yourself here.

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