Fifth Sunday of Lent (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: .
Estimated Reading Time:


They bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. Everyone knows her fate: she will be stoned to death, as prescribed by the law. No one speaks about the adulterous man involved. As always happens in a machista society, the woman gets condemned and the man gets excused. The challenge to Jesus is confrontational: Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?

Jesus does not suffer lightly such social hypocrisy that is fed by male arrogance. Such sentence to death does not come from God. With admirable simplicity and audacity, Jesus brings all at once truth, justice and compassion in the judgment of the adulterous woman, Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

The accusers go away in shame. They know that they are the ones most responsible for the adulteries committed in that society. Then, Jesus addresses the woman who has just escaped execution and tells her, with great tenderness and respect, Neither do I condemn you. He, then, encourages her to turn her being forgiven into a starting point for a new life: Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.

That is how Jesus is. Finally, there is someone in the world who has not allowed any oppressive law or power to condition him, someone free and magnanimous who never hated or condemned, never returned evil for evil. There is more truth and justice in his defense and forgiveness of this adulterous woman than in our resentful demands and condemnations.

We Christians have not yet been capable of drawing out all the implications that Jesus’ liberating action, in the face of the oppression endured by women, encloses. Coming from a Church led and inspired mostly by men, we do not get it right with regard to being cognizant of all the injustices that women keep suffering in all areas of life. One theologian spoke a few years ago about “the revolution ignored” by Christianity.

What is certain is that twenty centuries later, in countries of Christian roots supposedly, we continue to live in a society where women are frequently not able to move freely without fear of men. Rape, physical abuse, humiliation are not imaginary. On the contrary, they are one of the most deeply rooted acts of violence and the one that brings about more suffering.

Should the suffering of women not echo more vividly and more concretely in our celebrations, and have a more important place in our work of raising awareness in our society? Above all, do we not need to be closer to every oppressed woman in order to denounce abuses, provide intelligent defense and effective protection?

March 13, 2016
5th Sunday of Lent (C)
Juan 8, 1-11

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *