Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lectio Divina Meditation for Fifth Sunday of Lent Year C

Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 21
“Mercy shown to sinners”

1. Lectio
John 8:1-11
1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.
3 The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle 4 they said to Jesus, 'Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, 5 and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?'
6 They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger.
7 As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, 'Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.'
8 Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground.
9 When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until the last one had gone and Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained in the middle.
10 Jesus again straightened up and said, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 11 'No one, sir,' she replied. 'Neither do I condemn you,' said Jesus. 'Go away, and from this moment sin no more.'

It is interesting to note that only the woman is caught and brought before Jesus for judgment but not the men who had committed adultery with her. Very often, our sense of justice is distorted. It is very easy for us to discover the faults of others but are unable to recognise our own. Perhaps, some of the men who had been guilty of committing adultery with this woman are standing there in the crowd, joining in the cry for justice and punishment. Jesus gives the great lesson of compassion. He teaches us that it is only when we come to recognise our own weaknesses and limitations can we then come to accept the weaknesses and limitations of others. Jesus teaches us to make an important distinction – to hate sin but to love the sinner.

2. Meditatio
1. Imagine yourself as that woman. Feel her shame and her remorse. Also imagine the love and forgiveness she must have felt from Jesus who chose not to condemn her. (Pause for 5 minutes)
2. Imagine yourself as one of the crowd. Remember the many times you have accused others of wrongdoing. Remember the many times you demanded for justice but had been motivated by your own self-righteousness. See Jesus looking straight at you and speaking these words, 'Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone.' (Pause for 5 minutes)

3. Oratio
You have liberated us from slavery to sin
And have made us sons and daughters of God.
Teach us the new way of forgiveness
that you have shown to the woman caught in adultery,
help us to hate sin but to love the sinner.
May we always be conscious that we are sinners
So that we may not be blinded by our own self-righteousness.

4. Contemplatio
Contemplate by using 2 themes – contemplate by reflecting on your own sinfulness in relation to God’s forgiving love.

5. Actio
1. Personal Life: Make a list a people whom we have judged harshly. Try to make a list of their strengths, qualities and values.
2. Communal Life: Make a commitment as a community to do some penance and make time to pray for souls in purgatory.

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