Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent (Liturgical Year C)

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Seeking New Life & Perfection In Christ

(Readings: 1st -Ish 43,16-21; 2nd-Phil 3, 8-14; Gosp – John 8, 1-11; Ps.125)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com or +23408063767512

Gradually, we are drawing closer to the end of Lent and closer to Easter season. In order words, we are gradually moving away from the zone of hardship and suffering towards the zone of glory. Hence, virtually all of today’s readings give us hope, and paint a very bright future for us. In the first reading (Ish 43, 16-21), God tells us of the new things he is about to do amongst us. This means that in spite of the difficulties of this present moment and season, in no distance time the Lord will rise up to the occasion of our situation. Surely, he will because he tells us in Ps 30, 5 “that weeping may endure at night but joy comes in the morning.” So there is sure hope that we are approaching morning. Therefore, we must be positive about the future as we approach Easter because, what God promised he will do, he will surely do. This is why Paul himself decided to mortgage everything he owed and labored for, in order to gain the future glory and perfection revealed in Jesus’ resurrection power (Phil 3, 8-10). He understood the gimmicks of new life and its worth, and so, made this great sacrifice. He knew that “Nke iru ka” (What lies ahead is greater), as Haggai 2, 9 tell us that: “The glory of the latter shall be greater than that of the former.” Paul therefore, remained resolute in his faith even to the point of “reproducing Christ’s death” in himself.

Many of us are quite familiar with today’s Gospel reading from John 8, 1-11. The emphasis I wish to lay on this reading would not be much on the hypocritical activities of the Pharisees in relation to the crime of the adulterous woman. However, what is most important here is the fact that Jesus restored life to this woman. Not only did he save her from her antagonists, he gave her a new injunction, GO AND SIN NO MORE! What Jesus gave her was new life and the mandate to live it to the fullest. Should this woman continue in her old way of life what do we think would be her fate? Of course both physical and spiritual death! Daily in our journey of faith “many elements” like the Pharisees stand as obstacles to us. They often times make life very difficult for us, because they have taken very good hold of us they always stand as our “accusers” and “thorns in our flesh.” If you like, you can call them “the skeletons in our cupboards”. These skeletons remind us of our true selves and indict us of the wrongs of our past life. So, we are held captive and become almost perpetual victims. We often try to avoid them to live on, but because they are keeping close watch over us and ever ready to accuse us, we prefer to remain where we are least we are exposed. Do you have one? Jesus says to you today, they have no more powers over you again, but do not welcome them back again through sin! The truth is that when these skeletons encounter Christ, and we ourselves draw closer to him as the adulterous woman did, they are disarmed. Our life is transformed for good. We should be encouraged by these words of Jesus “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” What more could be newer and more perfect than Jesus restoring us to new life?

 As we approach the glorious season of Easter, the Lord equally says to us “go and sin no more,” He promises us a better future if we heed his command. He promises us transformation and a place in his future glory if we remain faithful till the end. Therefore, we must constantly run to Jesus irrespective of our situation because, he is ever ready to acquit us of the charges the accuser brings against us. When we do this we can then shout out with great joy: “what marvels the Lord worked for us, indeed we were glad!”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!!

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