Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
April 7, 2019 – 5th Sunday of Lent (Cycle C, Year I)
Community Word: Christ’s sacrificial love leads us to eternal life.
Theme: We live Christ’s sacrificial love when we repent of our sins and commit to renew our life.
Promise: “Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” (Ps 126:5)
For the 5th Sunday of Lent, our theme is – We live Christ’s sacrificial love when we repent of our sins and commit to renew our life. Today’s Gospel is an unparalleled story of mercy and forgiveness. Jesus demonstrates His compassion towards the adulteress who was about to be stoned to death as the Jewish law demanded for the offense of adultery. The Pharisees presented the adulterous woman to Jesus to entrap him. Instead, with this challenge, Jesus gave His unqualified acquittal and pardoned her who was proclaimed a sinner in the eyes of man: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” (Jn 8:7b).
Judging and condemning others seems to be socially acceptable now a days. Media is abuzz with news, even fake ones, and tabloids are putting people in the limelight and exposing their immoral actions. The natural reaction is to condemn the sinner instead of the sin. It is so much easier to condemn those who have committed wrongdoings, especially grievous ones. But mercy defies logic. It is dispensed, not because of the requirements of the law and justice, but mercy that comes from the goodness of one’s heart. Jesus did not just comply with the law. During His ministry, He did not condemn sinners, but forgave sins and showed us the impact of forgiveness – He reintegrated forgiven and repentant sinners into God’s community of the righteous.
We are given chance after chance to renew our lives, away from sin, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When one goes to confession with a sincerely contrite heart, no sin is too big to be forgiven by our Lord.
We know that in the Ten Commandments adultery is a serious sin. In the Gospel, Jesus demonstrated His love by condemning the sin, but not the adulterous woman – “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore,” (Jn 8:11b). God does not deal with us according to our sin because His love is so great for “those who fear Him” (cf. Ps 103:10-11).
In the first reading, we receive this assurance when we are reconciled back to God, “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” (Is 43: 18-19). Jesus is not interested in our past, but in what we can become by God’s power and grace. With His help, any sinner can become a saint.
It is exactly a week before Palm Sunday, the day that ushers in Holy Week. The season of Lent is indeed a fitting preparation for Holy Week when on Good Friday, we commemorate the day that Jesus died. He died because of His love for us. He offered Himself as the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb for people like us, who are sinners and who are tempted and are prone to sin again. Lent offers us an opportunity to review our life’s journey towards eternal salvation. It is the time to acknowledge our sinfulness and beg God for His mercy, trusting in His goodness and unconditional love for us. From the dark alleys of our sinful life, we can lead a renewed life of grace and be assured of the Lord’s promise: “Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing,” (Ps 126:5).
Lord, we reflect on Your great mercy and compassion in pardoning the adulterous woman. Forgive us when we become self-righteous and are quick in condemning others, in judging them instead of being Your instruments in bringing them back to You. Thank you for Your unconditional love and boundless mercy. Grant us the grace to be truly repentant, making a good general confession this Lent so that we can be reconciled with You and renew our life towards the path of holiness. Amen.
Reflection Guide Questions:
1. Are you more inclined to condemn the person rather than the wrongful act he/ she has committed? What can you do not to be judgemental or condemning towards your fellowman?
2. How do you treat a brother or sister who has sinned against you?
3. In the remaining days before Holy Week, what steps are you taking to be restored into God’s graces and be reconciled with Him?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
April 7, 2019 (Sun) – Is 43:16-21/Ps 126:1-6/P126:1-6/Phil 3:8-14/Jn 8:1-11
April 8, 2019 (Mon) – Dn 13 1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62/Ps 23:1-3,3-4,5,6/Jn 8:12-20
April 9, 2019 (Tue) – Nm 21:4-9/Ps 102:2, 3, 16-18, 19-21/Jn 8:21-30
April 10, 2019 (Wed) – Dn 3:14-20, 91, 92, 95/Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56/Jn 8:31-42
April 11, 2019 (Thu) – Gn 17:3-9/Ps 105:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9/Jn 8:51-59
April 12, 2019 (Fri) – Jer 20:10-13/Ps 18:2m3, 5, 6, 7/Jn 10:31-42
April 13, 2019 (Sat) – Ez 37:21-28/Jer 31:10, 11, 12, 13/Jn 11:45-56
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”