5th Sunday in Lent 2022

We hear in our first reading from the prophet Isaiah. Through Isaiah, God delivers a powerful message. God says, “I am doing something new! Do you not perceive it? ” “In the desert I make a way. I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland.”

These words may seem poetic to us – and perhaps not have much meaning since we do not live in the desert. However they sum up our relationship with God.

God brings forth life. That is the message. In the place thought to be a wasteland, thought to be without life, thought to be nothing but death – that is where God brings forth life. God is talking about spiritual life. This is about the spiritual landscape of our souls.

God is talking about eternal life. God grants forgiveness of sins. This brings forth salvation. This brings forth eternal life. In the person thought to be beyond forgiveness, God grants forgiveness. In the person thought to be too far gone in their sinful ways, God invites that person to a new state of grace. This is bringing forth life from the desert. This is the river in the desert. Life where there was thought to be nothing but wasteland. This is what our God does for us. Do we perceive it? Do we look for God’s forgiveness for ourselves and for others? Or like the crowd in today’s Gospel do we only see the faults and flaws of others? Do we see ourselves or others as a waste?

What do we perceive? What have we trained our eyes, our hearts, and our spirits to see? What receives our attention and focus – regarding ourselves and regarding others? This is Lent. This is the season of turning back to God. This is the season of praying that God brings forth life in our souls, in our relationship with Him, through the forgiveness of sins. Let us rejoice and perceive it! Perceive that our God loves us! Perceive that our God forgives us! May we go forth in new life , in new grace, and sin no more!

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Thus says the LORD,
   who opens a way in the sea
   and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
   a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
   snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
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.
Wild beasts honor me,
   jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
   and rivers in the wasteland
   for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
   that they might announce my praise.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. :

℟. (3) The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
   we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
   and our tongue with rejoicing.

℟. The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

They said among the nations,
   “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
   we are glad indeed.

℟. The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
   like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
   shall reap rejoicing.

℟. The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Although they go forth weeping,
   carrying the seed to be sown,
they shall come back rejoicing,
   carrying their sheaves.

℟. The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


Second Reading
Phil 3:8-14

Because of Christ, I consider everything as a loss, being conformed to his death.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians

Brothers and sisters,
I consider everything as a loss
   because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
   and I consider them so much rubbish,
   that I may gain Christ
   and be found in him,
   not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
   but that which comes through faith in Christ,
   the righteousness from God,
   depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
   and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
   if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
   or have already attained perfect maturity,
   but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
   since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
   do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
   but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
   the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.


Gospel
Jn 8:1-11

Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
   and all the people started coming to him,
   and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
   who had been caught in adultery
   and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
   “Teacher, this woman was caught
   in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
   so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
   he straightened up and said to them,
   “Let the one among you who is without sin
   be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
   beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
   “Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

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