Fifth Sunday in Lent – Has No-One Condemned You?

The Gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday in Lent is taken from John’s Gospel 8:1 – 11.

It is a powerful story about notions of power, sex, judgement and condemnation in the time of Jesus . Of course it also echoes with similar notions and challenges for our own time – especially with news this week that Brunei is soon to begin imposing death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and adultery.

The story in John’s Gospel of  ‘the woman taken in adultery’ and Jesus’ response to her invites us during these final weeks of Lent to think about our tendencies to often  pass judgement on others and to readily condemn them.

In the coming week try to make some time to re-read this Gospel text and ponder the following questions:

* Recall a time when you were judged harshly by others? What was it like for you to sense this condemnation? Was there a time when you passed  judgement on someone else? How might you be being called now to grow from these experiences?

*  Who are the people today who are often being judged harshly and victimized – homeless people forced to live on the streets? Gay, lesbian and transgender people? Women who’ve been trafficked into the sex and pornography industries? People suffering from addictions or mental illnesses? Who are the ones in your family, workplace or community who are readily judged and condemned?

* When you focus on Jesus in this Gospel story, what do his attitude and actions teach you about true love and acceptance of others?

The following reflection prepared by Veronica Lawson RSM was first published at   It  is offered here as a resource for prayer and reflection in the coming week:

Prayer and Thought for the Week: (Adapted from Psalm 144)
Our God is full of love and compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good and compassionate is the Lord to all!  As Easter draws closer may we become more compassionate and less quick to judge and condemn others. Amen.