Fifth Sunday of Lent 3 April 2022

“And now, celebrating the reconciliation Christ has brought us” (words from Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation 11).

Building Blocks 1. “See, I am doing a new deed…” “I am making a road in the wilderness…” (First Reading)

  1. “I am still running…” (Second Reading)
  2. “Neither do I condemn you…” (Gospel)

Violence generally provokes more violence, even in the playground. War, let alone “special military operations”, generally provoke more wars.

“You did it” is not best responded to by “I didn’t”. Howls of “I’ve been left out” usually do not result in piles of goodies arriving. You all can rapidly add to the list.

Jesus could easily have asked for more details; “Was she a married woman or a betrothed girl?” The law provided different penalties in his time. He may even have asked to interview the menfolk directly or indirectly involved. Perhaps he was mindful of the passage of Isaiah read today, “See, I am doing a new deed”.

So, he doodled on the ground, answered the challenge designed to trap him with a new challenge and restored dignity to the women, so abused and ill-treated by the Scribes and Pharisees as a chattel.

“Neither do I condemn you, go away and sin no more”.

A new order is proclaimed, and a new direction given to us.

This new order is difficult, as Paul talks about today. He, too, has had a new order experience which changed him irrevocably. But he had to keep running the race.

Lent is designed to reenergise us for another lap.

I have noticed that some letters and some conversations have expressed disappointment that despite their prayers and charitable works the war in Ukraine has not stopped. “What is God doing?”

Maybe God is doodling, awaiting us to realise the futility of war.

The long history of the Scripture and the long history of the Christian experience demonstrates that God is not idle. We have been told that his ways are not our ways. We must keep running the race of justice and peace and, in a sense, allow time for the “Scribes and Pharisees of the 21st Century” to meditate on their own actions and melt away, one by one, beginning with the eldest.

We can be agents of reconciliation.

We have the where-with all, Bushmasters not withstanding, to bring about reconciliation.

Mons Frank