Let us pray that we recognize that the greatest sin is when we pretend that we are better than others.

5th Sunday of Lent – Year C

Is. 43:16-21; Psalm 125; Ph. 3:8-14; Jn. 8:1-11

Read: Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the presence of everybody, they said to Jesus: “Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses had ordered us in the law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?”

They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said: “If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then he bent down again and wrote on the ground again. When they heard what Jesus had said they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she replied. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus, “go away, and do not sin anymore.”

Reflect: Today’s Gospel reading is opening our eyes to be careful that, in trying to hide our own shortcomings and sins, we pay attention instead to the sins of others. That is what the group of Pharisees and scribes did by bringing the woman before Jesus and the crowd, declaring that she had been caught committing adultery and saying that she deserved to be stoned to death as had been ordered by Moses according to law. We too sometimes are inclined to be watchful of others … being critical and accusing them.

Maybe we do not throw stones at those who, in our own eyes, are sinful, but we defame, isolate, utter harsh words, we speak against those others concerned.  Indeed, we even try to give false witness to God in making our condemnation of those, who in our own eyes, have sinned. “Now what have you to say?” The Lord reminds us that we all live in glass houses, we are all touched by sin, we are all inclined to make mistakes.

None of us is entitled to throw neither stones nor accusations towards anybody else. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is a saint. Nobody is without sin. During these two pandemic years we got used to wearing a face mask. God willing, we do not wear a mask that hides what we really are when we try to give the impression that we are saints. There is somebody who is able to see our face when even behind a mask. In His presence we are unable to hide: “If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Pray: Let us pray that we recognize that the greatest sin is when we pretend that we are better than others.

Act: “Let us seriously live up to the fact that we are Christians, and that we strain to live faithfully, because only then can the Gospel touch one’s heart and open this to receive the grace of love, so as to accept this great love of God that reaches everybody”. (Pope Francis, 30 January 2026)


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