St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

5th Sunday of Lent, Year C, 16

Things are not always as simple as they at first appear to be. Today’s Gospel is a perfect example of a passage that has layers of meaning and application.

On the surface, this is apparently just another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes with an adulterous woman caught in the crossfire. But, she is only a pawn. The Pharisees and scribes are not really concerned about her or her sin but about Jesus’ answer to their challenge. If he agrees with the Mosaic Law, he is in conflict with the Romans who forbade the Jews to pass or carry out a death sentence, and revealing that his mercy and compassion are limited. If he lets her go unpunished for this capital offense against the Mosaic Law, he will be seen as “soft on crime” and in conflict with his Jewish heritage. It seems to be a “no win” situation. But Jesus turned the tables by making the interpreters and keepers of the Law face their own sinfulness before passing judgment on someone else.

Perhaps because we consider our own sins minor, we can be quick to judge and condemn others. We may excuse our reckless and speedy driving habits but come down hard on someone else who is behaving exactly the same way! We can rant about abuses of the welfare system but fudge on our own income tax. All too often, it is not really a matter of right vs. wrong, but only of degree, isn’t it?

On another level today’s Gospel and last week’s about the prodigal son are about how the communities of (more or less) faithful believers are to respond to sinners.

For us, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, there will likely be some here who are not usually present. How will we react? Will we be like the elder son of last weekend’s parable, angry and resentful because another whom we consider unworthy has taken our parking place and usual seat, thinking to ourselves: “How dare they!?” Will we self-righteously throw stones of judgment? Or will we be inviting, happy to share the beauty of our faith, creating an atmosphere to which the wanderer will want to return more often?

How can we do that? The very first step is to put down our stones and not be a hostile barrier between others and Jesus.

LENT: Fasting and Abstinence

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
FASTING means to refrain from eating food between meals and to eat only one full meal with the other two being lighter meals. It is required of those who are age 18 to 59. Liquids are permitted between meals.
ABSTINENCE means to refrain from eating meat. It is required of those 14 years of age and older.


When pondering what to give up this year, consider Pope Francis’ suggestions to observe this Lent:

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

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