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April 1st, 2001 A.D.  5th Sunday of Lent
Catholic Homilies

April 1st, 2001 A.D.

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1st Passion Sunday


Superfluous questions that often arise when this story of the women caught in adultery include, "Where is the man?" and "What did Jesus write?" These questions, of course, miss the point of the story. What is important is that Jesus knew the significance of writing with his finger and of writing twice. So did the scribes and Pharisees who were testing Jesus’ fidelity to the law of Moses that ordered that such a woman be stoned. Moses needed God to write twice in order to replace the stone tablets he had broken when he found the people committing adultery. God forgives the Israelites for their sin and Moses for breaking the tablets. Those who follow the law of God should remember this when trying to judge others who have sinned while ignoring our own transgressions. God did not hold the people in their sin nor does Jesus want to hold the woman, or anyone else, in their sins. She, and we, are advised to sin no more. At the same time, we hear that we are not to identify a person with his or her sins

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a teen-age girl became pregnant. The girl refused to name the father of the child. The people in the community, though they considered themselves to be broadminded, gossiped about her and speculated about whom the father might be. The girl steadfastly refused to name him. Her mother wanted to be helpful but could not understand why her daughter would not name the father. She felt the girl’s refusal a sign of lack of trust adding more insult to the disgrace she was bringing on her family. Her father, a prominent businessman in the community, scorned her, calling her a slut, and urged his wife to send her away to a distant relative. The girl seemed most eager to flee from the criticism from the community and from her family. She was sympathetically welcomed by the relatives who arranged for good prenatal care and counseling. They even suggested that if the girl wanted to keep the baby they would help her. But the girl did not want to keep the baby. The counselor supported her decisions in discussions with the relatives. Once the baby was born, she asked if she could stay on to complete her schooling. She then went to college far from home and graduated with honors and eventually earned a Ph.D. from a prestigious university. She never returned to her home or saw people from her community. She saw her mother and her siblings a few times during those years when they came to visit. No one ever mentioned the baby. The only person, outside of the counselor, who ever learned the name of the baby’s father was the man she eventually married. He & he alone knew that the girl had been sexually abused by her father from the time she was about eleven years old.

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