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Throwing Stones.

Lenten meditation on justice and peace

Sunday, March 29, the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:8-14; John 8:1-11

Jesus is Behaving Very Badly today. He's not doing what he's supposed to do. He doesn't fall into the religious hypocrites' trap. He turns it upon their heads, scribbling seemingly thoughtlessly on the ground, then looking up and saying, "Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her."

One has to wonder where the adulterer in this picture was, but in the meantime, the adulteress is standing there, alone with Jesus. Everybody else is gone. Jesus sends the woman away with the admonition: go and sin no more.

Paul paints a vivid word picture for us of his commitment to the Gospel. His justice comes from God. He sees the power that comes from the Resurrection and understands that sharing in the life of Christ means sharing in his death, as well as his Resurrection. He tells us of the importance of perseverence, right to the very last breath. These teachings are fraught with meaning for all who work for justice and peace.

Both Paul and Isaiah discuss the healing of memories. "Remember not the events of the past" and "I give no thought to what lies behind" -- each of these men intimately knows the troubling power of bad memories, and the healing goodness of hope and faith in God.

Those who would judge another must first look to themselves, and do so through the justice of God. And in that self-examination, motivated and animated by faith in God, we understand more about where we are going and what we are doing along the way. To work for peace and justice and solidarity, one must be peaceful and just and live in solidarity with the poor and rejected.

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all who would throw stones, that they would heed the words of Jesus, we pray to the Lord.

+ For all those who are having stones thrown at them, that they will also hear the words of Jesus, we pray to the Lord.

Praxis today:

+ Don't throw any stones today.

+ Go to mass today and be in communion with your sisters and brothers, as well as the Lord.

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