Am I without sin?

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21

Thus says the LORD, who opens a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, who leads out chariots and horsemen, a powerful army, till they lie prostrate together, never to rise, snuffed out and quenched like a wick. 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? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.

Philippians 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters: I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. 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.

John 8:1-11

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.”

Today’s Gospel Reading is about a woman caught in adultery. She was brought before Jesus when he was teaching in the temple. The scribes and Pharisees made the woman stand before the people to test Jesus about the law prescribed by Moses that women committing such acts were to be stoned.

Like all Gospel passages, the moral of the story is timeless. What strikes me the most in this story is how easy it is for me to judge others while it is very difficult if not impossible to judge myself. I compare myself with others and easily conclude that I am better than that other person. I am more generous, charitable, forgiving, I have greater faith and all in all, I think I am doing better than that other person in the eyes of God. I am not able to use the standard I judge others to judge myself. I am strict and harsh to others while very lenient to myself.

Jesus’ reaction in the story “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7) is a challenge to the world until this day. Whenever I am tempted to judge, let me be reminded of Jesus’ challenge to the people in the temple. Am I without sin? It should be simple enough to remember: am I without sin?

Just by not condemning others, we are closer to Jesus who promised that “Neither do I condemn you … from now on do not sin again”. (John 8:11) This promise is particularly encouraging and relevant to us in the Lenten season, the season of reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ who came down from heaven, was crucified and suffered death for our salvation.

Posted: March 13, 2016

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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