FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT:
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 42: 1-2
Give me justice, O God, and plead my cause against a nation that is faithless. From the deceitful and cunning rescue me, for you, O God, are my strength.
By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Isaiah 43:16-21
Thus says the Lord, who made a way through the sea, a path in the great waters; who put chariots and horse in the field and a powerful army which lay there never to rise again, snuffed out, put out like a wick: No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds. The wild beasts will honour me, jackals and ostriches, because I am putting water in the wilderness (rivers in the wild) to give my chosen people drink. The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises.
Psalm 125 (126):1-6
R/ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
1) When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs.
2) The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
3) Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land. Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
4)They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing: they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.
Second reading: Philippians 3:8-14
I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.
Gospel Acclamation: Joel 2:12-13
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Gospel: John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Hear us, almighty God, and, having instilled in your servants the teachings of the Christian faith, graciously purify them by the working of this sacrifice. Through Christ our Lord.
Has no one condemned you, woman? No one, Lord. Neither shall I condemn you. From now on, sin no more.
Prayer after Communion
We pray, almighty God, that we may always be counted among the members of Christ, in whose Body and Blood we have communion. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Prayer over the People
Bless, O Lord, your people, who long for the gift of your mercy, and grant that what, at your prompting, they desire they may receive by your generous gift. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The logic of Jesus is different from that of the Pharisees, who constantly brandish the Law as a source of sanctions. After instructing the crowd, Jesus finds himself faced with a case of accusation of a woman caught in adultery, that is, a case of sin according to the Law. Here he invites us to focus not on the sins of the “other”, but on our own sins. He makes us see our own faces when we are mean. We are not good-looking when we condemn others. All of us are children of God and our inheritance is Love. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the peak of the perfection of this Love. St Paul, who has experienced this, retains in him that spiritual richness to the detriment of the material one. The power of God is the support of the righteous.