Homily For The 5th Sunday Of Lent, Year C

Christ Frees Us From Our Sinful Past

Readings: 1st: Is 43, 16-21; Ps 125; 2nd: Phil 3, 8-14; Gos: Jn 8, 1-11

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today is the fifth Sunday of Lent. Gradually, we are coming close to the end of Lent. On the other hand, we are getting close to the paschal feast. In order words, we are gradually moving away from the zone of suffering to the zone of glory. Hence, all the readings of this Sunday give us hope and paint a picture of a very bright future for us.

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In the first reading, God tells us of the new things he has started doing among us and for us. He is restoring our hope and giving us every reason to continue living. This means that despite the difficulties of this present moment and season, the Lord will put a smile on our faces soon.

Indeed, he will do this because: “Weeping may endure at night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30, 5). So, there is hope because we are approaching our morning. Hence, we must be optimistic about the future as we approach Easter because God is ready to fulfill his promises to us very soon.

In our second reading, Paul tells us that he decided to count everything as a loss for the sake of Christ. This was in order to gain the future glory that God wishes to reveal in Christ. He understood the worth of the new life offered by God in Christ. He knew that: “The glory of the latter shall be greater than that of the former” (Haggai 2, 9).  Paul saw all these revealed to him. So, he remained resolute in his faith. He did this even to the point of “reproducing Christ’s death in himself. This same promise must sustain us to the end.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Christ. They thought that Christ would condemn her immediately. They thought he would give them permission to go ahead and stone the woman to death. However, they were wrong because Christ came to save and not to condemn. They were wrong because the ways and thoughts of Christ are different from theirs. So, instead of condemning her, Jesus restored her life and offered her a new chance to live. He simply told her: “Go and sin no more.”

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Like this woman, Jesus is always giving us new opportunities despite our weaknesses. He knows how vulnerable we are to sin. He knows the forces we contend with in our life and society. His mission is to save us from all our sins and accusations. It is not to condemn us. Hence, Christ says, “I have come that they may have life and have it in full” (Jn 10, 10).

Today, we should be encouraged by these words of Jesus “Neither do I condemn you.” The complete forgiveness of Christ is incredible. When he says these words to us, he means them. He means that he has taken care of our negative past. So, Christ will always fill us with Joy, which he will complete for us soon through his death and resurrection.

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Finally, as we approach the glorious season of Easter, the Lord equally says to us: “Go and sin no more.” This is an injunction we must believe and put into practice. He promises us a better future and a share in his glory if we remain faithful to this command. Therefore, we must constantly run to Jesus irrespective of our situation. This is because he is ever ready to acquit us of all the charges against us. So, let us shout for joy: “What marvels the Lord worked for us. Indeed, we are glad!”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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