Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent

(Daniel 13:1-9.15-17.19-30.33-62; John 8:12-20)

Law-and-order advocates believe that stricter laws, tougher judges, and more prisons are the best ways to limit crime and bring harmony to society. They would praise the sagacity of Daniel in the first reading today who ferrets out two culprits willing to see an innocent woman stoned to cover up their crime of lust. Such hardliners are not likely to approve of Jesus’ more daring way to bring about justice.

In the Gospel of John Jesus repeatedly announces that he has not come to judge the world. Not that his judgment would be defective; it would just be insufficient. Judging would bring reprisals against everyone. But God loves the world and does not want to condemn it. He sends Jesus to save the world by offering himself at the appointed time. He will turn human hearts to what is good by graciously allowing himself to be crucified. Those who come to believe that his self-sacrifice demonstrates God’s love for the world will have eternal life. Those who deride such sacrifice are doomed to darkness.

We have entered into what used to be called Passiontide when all images were covered in Catholic churches. Our minds and hearts are to focus on Jesus supreme sacrifice. Once again, he gives himself willingly to be tortured, reviled, and killed so that we might be justified.