Monday of the 5th Week of Lent

John 8:1-11

A Woman Caught in Adultery


Have you heard about the phrase, “hate the sin but love the sinner.” This is exactly what Jesus is doing today. The Master has His own way of bringing sinners back to Him. The self is capable of doing good. Christ challenges us not to remain weak and stay in our wicked ways. He knows our human nature. It is capable of transcendence and adherence to what is divine. The compassionate Master shows mercy and forgiveness. In so doing Jesus restores the adulterous woman. We usually condemn the person; we do not make room for change and mercy. Jesus is different. Does He not consider her fault grave?? No but in this episode, Jesus is both demanding and merciful. “Neither do I condemn you; go your way and don’t sin again.” (Fr. Yoyo Rebucias, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


In this modern age of technological advancement, it is almost unthinkable to see people live in darkness here in Rizal, Palawan, when everywhere else has electricity. Well, we did have power the last few months, but now, that is totally gone. How hard and inconvenient it is to live in darkness.

To live under the influence of Christ is to live in the light. Christ is the light of the world. A plant hidden from the light of the sun will become weak after sometime and eventually die. A Christian who withdraws from Christ becomes spiritually weak and lifeless. Thus, we enjoined to live in the light of Christ to have life. Our good deeds and proper behavior become our witness that we are walking in the light of Christ. (Fr. Tony Pezon, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


When Jesus was presented with the woman caught in adultery, the crowd asked him whether he was willing to let the woman be stoned to death. Jesus bent down and wrote something on the ground. Jesus in the gospel spoke only some few words, “Let anyone without sin cast the first stone.” And when nobody threw the first stone He said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

What’s really a good judgment? What are the criteria of a good decision? Of course nobody wants to be on the losing side, nobody wants to be tricked or fooled or abused. But what does one really lose in the act of forgiveness? What does really wants miss in being taken for ride? Indeed there might be much in the mystery of evil and iniquity but there is no greater dawning of insight and even of grace than the act of one who forgives.

It may help remind us that John XXIII’s one and only dawning of insight and even of grace than the act of one who forgives.

It may help remind us that John XXIII’s one and only address to the Council Fathers on Oct. 11, 1962, the first day of Vatican II, mentioned the approach that the Church must take in her ministry at the present times. He said, “The Church has always opposed errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, the Church prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnation.”

There are shortcuts to loving and forgiving. Education may pose an exemption. But the point is: Every occasion provides an opportunity to look into what surrounds us, for surely, we can find something to learn about us, about others and about God.

If indeed it would be difficult for our minds to fathom the mystery of God’s love for us, perhaps it would lighten the load of our search if we recall some words of the great poet William Wordsworth about the rich resources of what make us wonder in his, “The Tables Turned,” (1798): “One impulse from a vernal wood, May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can” (Fr. Joey Miras, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


A fourth year college student who had a retreat with me confided that she was under pressure from her barkada (peers). She was being forced by her barkada to disseminate a false story to destroy someone. I was disappointed to know that her non-compliance meant her ouster from the group. On the other hand, I was happy to know that she chose to stay away from her barkada than to gossip and destroy someone. “it was hard,” she said, “to have no friends for a time but it’s better than to have wrong friends.” What she did was a clear manifestation of her faith in the Lord.

In the gospel the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They made her stand in front of everyone to be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses. This law is no longer practiced in our present time. People no longer stone “sinners” to death. However, people gossip about other people to death. Gossip undermines the good that’s in us and in our neighbor.

Those who are lost need help. They need our compassion and understanding like what Jesus showed to the sinful woman in the gospel. Gossiping will not help them. It could even worsen their situation.

Talking to them, especially if you are close to them, is the best thing to do. Do not say it’s hopeless, when you have not done anything yet to help them realize their mistakes. Susannah in the first reading was also a victim of gossip but the Lord gives justice to those cling to what is right. (Fr. Emmanuel Ferrer, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


Nobody is quintessentially wicked. Deep in our hearts lives the longing to be good. This longing is often put to silence by disappointments and bitterness. It is also armored. Yes, how tempting it is to build walls around our hearts to make ourselves bulletproof! Even if it’s like that, the heart is still there – it exists! Like spring buds, the longing of the heart only needs the sun for it to blossom. The adulteress experienced that. She was surrounded by accusers who only saw her indiscretion and how she should be, in accordance to the law of Moses (Leviticus 20: 10), condemned to stoning.

They tried to test Jesus by entrusting to him the judgment: “What do you say?” Jesus came up. He was convinced that the longing to be good lives in the heart of this woman. He shows goodness to her, and this goodness allows her to blossom – to claim and live the life, that is almost wasted, anew! There will be new beginnings for her, this time determined by honesty, peace and integrity.

All of us have had bad experiences. Jesus wants us not to get stuck there. Let His words speak to us: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (Fr. Ritch Salinas, SVD | Germany Bible Diary 2016)


COMPASSION: let us visualize this. There is a criminal – a woman caught in adultery. There are accusers and they are holding rocks to stone the woman. Figuratively and even literally, they have engraved the sin of the woman on the stone. We know how heavy a stone is. It is solid. We know how hard a stone is yet they have chiseled the word “adultery” on the stone. On the other side is the Lord. Jesus does not deny that this woman did something criminal. Jesus recognizes that. But what was Jesus writing on the ground? Jesus, like the accusers carrying rocks, also writes “adultery” on the ground. Having written adultery on the ground, Jesus stands up. And when Jesus stands up, He does not have rocks on His hands. What does He have in His hands? Dust. He has dust in His hands because if one starts to write on the soil, one’s hands get dusty.

Now visualize this. Here is the sinful woman. Here are the people who have engraved the sin of adultery on rock. And here is Jesus. He has engraved the sin of the woman on the ground. Here is Jesus offering dust to throw at the woman, whereas the people offer to throw rocks at her. The lesson is very simple. Unforgiveness is heavy. Revenge is hard. Condemnation is difficult. We will need some muscle energy to engrave on that rock. Why do we have to do that if we have better things to do?

In the case of the Lord, He only had dust, so small, so minute, so tiny that with a gust of wind, the hand will be free from the dust. Such is the mercy of God.

The essence of Christianity is compassion. Crime does not pay. Unforgiveness does not pay also, resentment, revenge and condemnation are heavy things to do. Today, the Lord says to us: “When somebody has done us wrong, we must write it on dust and carry it in our hands. We must not carry rocks to condemn. Instead carry dust which we will allow the wind of God’s mercy to erase. Let the holy water in the Church wash away that condemning attitude.” (Bp. Soc Villegas, DD Love Like Jesus p. 149-150)


DIGNITY OF WOMEN: There are different ways of being honored. Some earn honor by graduating from school with high grades. Others receive honor by earning medals and plaques of appreciation. Some are honored by belonging to a select group of individuals such as fraternities and clubs.

If there are different ways of honoring people, there are also different ways of shaming people. People are ashamed when you expose their faults in public and their weaknesses become the talk of the town. People are ashamed when they are stripped naked in public.

During the time of the Lord, there were particular ways of honoring and shaming individuals.

For example, all males were born with honor because to be a man was to be an honorable person. On the other hand, at that time, women were born with shame, because to be a woman was to have a defect in your personhood.

The gospel today tells us that at that time, if a woman committed adultery, her husband could divorce her. But Jewish custom stated that a wife could not divorce her husband who has committed adultery. Only a husband could divorce his wife, but not vice-versa. When a husband committed adultery, the one deemed guilty of sin was his female partner.

This is how truncated the Jewish beliefs were about personhood, about womanhood, about manhood. To be a man was honorable. To be a woman was a reason for shame. At that time, children were also considered inferior people.

Then Jesus came forward and pointed out that it is wrong for a husband to divorce his wife to marry another. Both husband and wife commit adultery if they remarry.

The Lord said that in the beginning, God created males and females, co-equals in the life of grace.

Brothers and sisters, today’s gospel says we are all equal. Men and women are equal to one another. Man, woman and child are equal to each other.

If we look into our lives, we will see how far we are from the way the Lord wants us to live.

For example we have broken marriages and homes right in Catholic families. Who suffers? Perhaps the husband and wife suffer. But the first and the most helpless victims are the children. There is a serious injustice in them. If children are created equal to parents, why do they have to suffer needlessly, as a result of the stupidity of their parents?

If husbands and wives are co-equals in the life of grace, why is the mother who is blamed solely for her failure in parenting? Parenting is not the exclusive duty of the mother but of both parents.

If men and women are co-equals in the life of grace, why are pornographic tabloids widely circulated in the metropolis?

We have reduced the equality of men and women, to the point that we, men, forget our responsibility to respect you, dear women.

My dear brothers and sisters, I could go on and on. But I know each of you have your own stories to tell. The Lord created men, women and children, equal to one another. Dear parents, please remember that your sons and daughters, are first your brothers and sisters, on account of baptism. God did not create us to shame us. He created us to give us honor and dignity. Let us treat each other as co-equals in dignity. (Socrates Villegas DD, Jesus Loves You, pp. 115-117)


March 26, 2012

The Annunciation of the Lord
(Solemnity) WHITE

Is 7:10-14; 8:10
Ps 40
Heb 10:4-10
Lk 1:26-38

Announcement of the Birth of Jesus

26The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, 33and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; 37for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


Hail, favored one! The solemnity of the Lord’s annunciation celebrates the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. The annunciation is God’s free choice to make Mary the mother of his Son Jesus. God’s choice makes Mary a favored one, gifted and graced. God’s choice is not a reward for her exemplary life, dedicated work, or fervent prayer. It is the result of God’s free will to choose and favor. God graces Mary for a noble mission—to be part of God’s plan to give Jesus to the world.

The annunciation also presents what God does through Mary. Mary places her whole being at God’s service, giving her total cooperation. She declares, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

God has many beautiful plans and interesting tasks for us. He has chosen us and gifted us to accomplish them. Let us place ourselves at God’s disposal. Like Mary, let us give our full cooperation and unconditional collaboration.

Pray the Angelus more meaningfully today.


FOCUS ON WHAT’S RIGHT: She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” – John 8:11

I wish I had posted a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my forehead that day. I was cramming for a major presentation the next day. My imaginary “D-N-D” sign seemed to work until my 10-year-old son, Jason, started this conversation.

Jason: Papa, can we play Wii? I need a good partner to beat the opponent in the new game.

Me : OK, but can I go back to my laptop from time to time?

Jason: Hmm… how much time do you need to finish that?

Me : Forty-five minutes. But I can play with you now and work on it during the breaks in the game.

Jason: Nope, better finish that first. I need you to focus. I need your focus on the game so we can win.

That conversation reminded me that whatever we focus on grows. If we focus on the sin, there is a high chance that we will fall into it or feel more unworthy before God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus encourages the woman not to focus on the sin. Instead, He wants her to focus on God’s love. That is the right attitude if we want to follow God. Alvin Fabella (

Reflection: The sacrament of reconciliation is a wonderful gift from God. Let’s find time to go to confession regularly.

Lord, I humbly come before You to ask forgiveness for my sins. I have not been faithful yet You continue to be faithful.


1ST READING: God does not allow injustice to prevail. He sends Daniel into this situation to provide the means by which the sin of the two men is uncovered. There may be times when justice does not happen in this life and so it has to wait for the Day of Judgment. Whatever the case, we can be sure that we will have to give a full account of the choices we have made in our lifetime. Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 (or Daniel 13:41-62)

GOSPEL: Jesus reminds us that none of us is sinless and, as such, should not judge others. The more we judge others, the harsher our own judgment will be. Why? It is very simple. If we judge others, then we must live by that standard ourselves. I would prefer to be judged by God and to let Him do the judging of others, as I am sure that He will do a better job of it.John 8:1-11

think:  If we judge others, then we must be willing to live by that standard ourselves.


MERCY AT THE TEMPLE AREA: For many years now, as a priest of 25 Easters (for I was ordained on an Easter Sunday in 1988), I have preached on this Gospel story which St. Augustine fondly refers to as the “Meeting of Justice and Mercy.” One little detail that strikes me now, though, is the reference to the Temple area as a venue of this periscope.

There was only one Temple ordained for all the 12 tribes of Israel. This one Temple — first a movable Tent of Meeting that journeyed with the tribes since Moses’ time — had the Holy of Holies, a revered and veiled sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. As an edifice, it was a concrete reminder that Israel was covenanted to the One True God.

The Temple was the place where the “Shekinah” (the Overshadowing Divine Presence) resided. There, the whole of Israel congregated to offer meticulous and elaborate worship and offerings to God. Before Him who gave Israel its freedom, identity and laws, there was holy  fear. The Old Testament tradition underscored God as majestic, awesome and truly just. His laws, ordinances and precepts are to be obeyed, for He rewards and punishes to the third and the fourth generations.

Jesus adds a new emphasis: God is just but He is kind and merciful too. In fact, His mercy endures more than His justice. His mercy tempers His justice. Jesus demonstrates this at the Temple.

We, the Church of the New Testament, should then be a Church of Mercy. As I write these verses, I and 33 other Filipino pilgrims are a day away from a General Audience with Pope Francis. We witnessed how everyone — the faithful, the secularists and curious tourists — is edified by the gentle, compassionate and merciful face of Christianity embodied by the new Pope, who went around on a popemobile sans any bulletproof glass. He was greeting everyone, kissing children, and blessing the sick and the elderly. He reminded everyone of the gentle charism of the late Blessed John Paul II, another face of a merciful Church. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you experience your community, your congregation, or your parish as a witness to the “Merciful Jesus at the Temple area”? How can you be an instrument of mercy in your own way?

Let Your mercy be imprinted in my heart, O Lord.



Monday of the 5th Week of Lent (A): John 8:1-11. Are we called to condemn or to forgive? The Scribes and the Pharisees were inclined to condemn not only the woman but also Jesus. They brought to the Lord a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery to test him regarding the issue of retribution so that they could find something to accuse him. If Jesus said the woman must be pardoned, he would be held in contempt of the Law of Moses. If he said the woman must be stoned to death, he would be contradicting himself as a teacher of mercy. Jesus’ response showed the greatness of his mind and heart. “Let him who has no sin be the first one to throw a stone at her.” No one dared to cast a single stone because all have realized their sinfulness. “Neither do I condemn you”, the Lord said, “Go, and sin no more.” (Abet Uy)


MONDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT (YEAR B) – JUAN 8:1-11. NGANONG DILI MAN KITA ANGAY NGA MAGHUKOM OG TAWO? Adunay panultihon nga nagkanayon, “Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” Ang kahulogan ning panultihon nadayag pag-ayo diha sa ebanghelyo karon. Ang mga magtutudlo sa Balaod ug mga Pariseo nagdala ngadto kang Hesus og usa ka babaye nga nasakpan nga nanapaw. Gusto nila nga kondenahon dili lang ang babaye kondili apil si Hesus nga para kanila usa ka tampalasan. Apan sa kaulahi-an, ang napamatud-an dili ang sala sa babaye o ang sayop ni Hesus kondili ang ilang daotang pagkatawo. “Bisan kinsa kaninyo nga wala makasala maoy paunaha pagbato kaniya.” Sa pagsulti niini, gipaamgo ni Hesus sa mga naminaw kaniya nga walay usa kanila ang may katungod sa pagkondena og laing tawo tungod kay sila mga makasasala man usab.


Reflection: Do you easily condemn or are you quick to utter your words of condemnation to your fellowmen? For example you see a wrongful act, do you immediately judge them as good for nothing, as immoral and sinner?

The problem when we condemn is we immediately put the heavy weight of judgment of sin to our fellowmen. Without knowing first why they sinned. Many of those who sin are not bad per see, they commit sin because they are forced by the circumstances of life. If we offer a sinner a way out of their life of sin they would be more than willing to leave permanently behind their sinful lives.

When the woman in our gospel was caught in the act of adultery, she was immediately condemned by the Pharisees and scribes. And the punishment during that time for that kind of immorality was slow and painful death by stoning.

But as always Jesus taught them something so that they could examine themselves also. HE said to them: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7).” After hearing these crucial words from Jesus the Pharisees and scribes all walked away for they were all sinners like us.  Then Jesus said something very profound to the woman: “I will not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11).

These healing worlds of Jesus is still very much with us today and we will hear this when we humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. We must all remember that we are all sinners in the eyes of God and men. And as such we are all in dire need of the Devine mercy of Jesus.

If we have not been to the Sacrament of Confession yet this lent, there is still time for us to go to Confession. There is still time for us to be healed and forgiven from all of our wrongful actions by Jesus Himself.

Have you already humbly submitted yourself to this healing and forgiving sacrament? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Reflection for March 23, Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:1-11 – Reflection: Are you sometimes quick to judge those whom you perceived to be sinners?  In the gospel the Pharisees and scribes were very quick to draw judgment from the woman caught committing adultery. They brought this woman to Jesus with the expectation that Jesus Himself would pronounce judgment upon her.

Yet Jesus never judge her for what he did, Jesus choose to highlight God’s mercy and compassion upon her. At the end of the gospel Jesus told her, “I do not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11). As if Jesus was telling her, go and start a new life forget the past for I have already forgiven you. This gospel episode is perhaps one of the best showcase of Jesus’ mercy and compassion.

Perhaps through this gospel Jesus is also inviting us to look at ourselves and have a self-reflection on how we relate with sinners. Do we also judge them quickly just like the Pharisees and scribes did? When we judge we also invite judgment on ourselves, when we judge we further push this person to commit more sins. And when we judge we only highlight the arrogance of the devil instead of the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

But who are we to condemn or judge when we are to be judge also. Who are we to judge when we are sinners also. Instead of judging let us always show the mercy and compassion of Jesus. In doing so we show the sinner that there’s a God who cares, a God who listens and surely a God who is always merciful and forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,  Year II

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