Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: woman ... caught in adultery, stand in the middle, one ... without sin, went away one by one, woman before him, do not sin any more
To the point: The scribes and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus and “made her stand in the middle.” In their self-righteousness they wished to make an example of her as a grave sinner deserving of death. Ironically, Jesus makes an example of them as sinners: they turned away from him and “went away one by one.”
The woman, however, remained with Jesus. Our own work during Lent is like that of the adulterous woman: truthfully face our sinfulness and faithfully remain with Jesus. Though we sin, Jesus only wishes new life for us.
Connecting the Gospel …
... to the first reading: Paul admonishes us not to be prisoners of our sinfulness but to strain forward to the new life that lies ahead. This new life is the “supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus” and remaining with him (“be found in him”).
... to experience: When we focus exclusively on our own sinfulness we can easily lose sight of our goodness and God's mercy. Jesus responds even to profound sin with even more profound mercy.