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Fifth Sunday of Lent [C]

By: John Bucki, SJ

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

Dates to Remember
March 31: Cesar Chavez Day (in California)
April 4: Passion (Palm) Sunday
April 4: Daylight Savings Time Begins in the United States

Quotes
"In every age the true and perennial 'newness of things' comes from the infinite power of God, who says: 'Behold, I make all things new' (Rev 21:5). These words refer to the fulfillment of history, when Christ 'delivers the Kingdom to God the Father . . . that God may be everything to everyone' (1 Cor 15:24,28). But the Christian well knows that the newness which we await in its fullness at the Lord's second coming has been present since the creation of the world, and in a special way since the time when God became man in Jesus Christ and brought about a 'new creation' with him and through him (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15)."
Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, #62

"Christ's way of acting, the Gospel of his words and deeds, is a consistent protest against whatever offends the dignity of women."
Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, #15

Thoughts for your consideration
Sometimes we hear people say: "It is hopeless and difficult and it cannot be done. It will always be that way. Things cannot change." They might be referring to something in their personal life or they might be referring to something in their place of business or church or government or world.

Today's reading from Isaiah says that change and growth can happen. Something new can take place.

"Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers."

In the same spirit of great optimism, Paul is "forgetting what lies behind" and "straining forward to what lies ahead," continuing his "pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus."

As you have become aware of your past, do you find yourself feeling hopeless or do you find yourself ready to keep going forward, confident in God? As you become more aware of the "sin of the world," are you overcome by hopelessness or are you ready to keep running forward in the power of Jesus Christ?

Are world powers always going to solve their disputes through war and the threat of war?
Will there always be such grave economic inequality between the rich and the impoverished? Will 20% of U.S. children always live in poverty? Will developing countries always be so impoverished? Will minorities in the U.S. always seem to get second-rate schools? Will women always be denied equal rights with men? Will the prevalence of violence against women ever end?

Using the image of the gospel, will men in authority always want to throw stones at people they call sinners? Can a "sinner" ever be allowed to get a fresh start? Can we allow a new way of living with each other?

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What is the hardest sin for you to forgive? Who are the people in the world that you find hardest to accept and forgive?

Actions - Links

  • Amnesty International has begun a worldwide campaign to Stop Violence Against Women. For more information, visit the AI Web Site.
  • Minorities and people living in poverty are still at a greater risk of getting cancer and dying from it than whites and more affluent individuals, a new American Cancer Society finds. Learn more by reading the following news articles: Cancer Deadlier for Poor, Minorities and Poverty, Culture and Social Injustice.

Prayer
God, I believe that you can do new things.
Help my unbelief!

I believe that you can help us to make a way in the desert.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that you want to create rivers through the wasteland.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we are not stuck to just repeat the evils of the past.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that I can do things that I was not able to do before.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that I might be able to forgive my enemy.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that peace among nations is possible.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we can overcome the ways of violence.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we can eliminate hunger and poverty.
Help my unbelief
I believe that we can overcome racism.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we can create homes for everyone.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we can finally drop the stones of condemnation.
Help my unbelief.
I believe that we will have a new heaven and a new earth.
Help my unbelief.

God, I believe that together we can do new things.
Help my unbelief!
Amen.

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections
Calendar: Lent/Easter