Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43: 16-21

The exodus is the central story of Israel’s history. The God of Israel brings the people out of slavery and claims them. In this reading the prophet Isaiah states that the Lord is “doing something new”. This “new” miracle is God bringing the people home to Judah after the Babylonian exile. Can you relate to the experience of being possessed by God? What holds you back from following God wholeheartedly in return?

Philippians 3: 8-14

Paul writes to the Philippians from jail unaware of his future. Yet Paul is full of joy and hope. Paul describes his life as meaningless or “rubbish” before knowing Christ. Christ is the totality of everything “supreme good” and “righteousness of God. Paul describes his search to “know” Christ and to “be found in Him,” with the goal of being conformed to the crucified Christ and sharing in His resurrection. The “goal” and “prize” is Christ.

St. Paul says that he depends on faith and on sharing in Christ’s sufferings to know Him and the power of His resurrection. How have you grown closer to Christ and come to understand his Resurrection through your own suffering?

John 8: 1-11

The woman in the Gospel is unnamed. We do not know how she feels, nor do we know how Jesus feels about the disturbance. Is Jesus annoyed or bored by yet another attempt to test Him, or does He radiate loving-kindness? Jesus bends down and writes on the ground. We do not know what He is writing. What we do know has a powerful effect. Not a single person remains to accuse the woman.

“Go and from now on do not sin anymore.” Jesus invites us all to be liberated from our pasts into new, or renewed commitments to God. We have all sinned like the people in the Gospel, yet none of us are condemned. We are set free. This message is also the Easter promise and invitation: the promise is our liberation, and the invitation is transformation into Christ. From what do you need liberation today?

In our first reading, God says, “I am doing something new!” Where do you find promise, liberation, and new freedom? In what ways are you doing something new or providing a drink for those thirsting for the face of God?