Reflection - 5th Sunday of Lent 2010
Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and from now on do not sin again.”
What inspires me about this Gospel reading is the compassion of Jesus for this nameless woman caught in adultery. Instead of condemning her as the scribes and Pharisees do at the time, Jesus stands by her side.
“Jesus feels the agony of (her) pain in the depth of his own stomach, an experiential connection that drives one into passionate action to rectify the cause of the suffering. Compassion is a word full of guts, vitality, righteous anger and an insatiable desire to see justice done. It has nothing to do with pity or with mercy, the insipid words often used to translate this otherwise fiery term.”
— Diarmuid O’Murchu, Catching Up With Jesus, p. 39
Who is Jesus compassionate with? With whom does he spend most of his time? In an earlier statement in the same book, O’Murchu remarks that for us to follow Jesus is to answer the call to “truth, justice and liberation for those oppressed, excluded and disempowered. It is primarily for nonpersons seeking acceptance and love”… (p.32) It makes sense, then, that he stands up for this nameless woman.
Nano Nagle heard this call and in compassion sought out those deemed nonpersons in her time.
• In turn, how can you and I follow in the footsteps of Jesus and Nano?
• What is our calling to see justice and liberation for those who today are deemed nonpersons
in a world crying out for compassion and love?
Let your mercy and compassion wash over me,
That I may ever work on behalf of justice.
And grant me a generous heart, O my Friend and Teacher,
That I would give freely of my time and energy in your Name.
— Nan C. Merrill, Psalms For Praying, Ps. 119, p. 258
Bride Doyle, PBVM Associate