Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.
Any takers? I thought not.
Well that is certainly one of the more immediate impacts of the Lenten season upon us all—the realization that, while we might not get to belong to every group that we would like to belong to in this life, we are guaranteed membership in this group—that of those who sin and need forgiveness. Like a sick person needs a doctor, instructs Jesus, the sinner needs a savior and a redeemer.
Today’s gospel account is often referred to as “The Woman Caught in Sin,” but the point of Jesus’ writing in the sand is to declare that we have ALL been caught in our sins. This 5th week of Lent offers us a final week before Holy Week to encounter Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior, and to emerge stronger in our resolve to walk in his footsteps and to experience Jesus’ pardon and peace.
Why not give yourself the gift of this final full week of Lent? See if there is not a little time to take out of your day to “take a walk with the Lord” or to sit quietly in awareness of his presence. Even better yet, how about celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation? Motivation can come from the very gospel passage we have heard today: Jesus says to “the woman in sin,” “Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I.” When Jesus said that He was sent not to condemn the world but to save it, He really meant it. And do not be concerned about how long it has been since your last confession; the Lord is only interested in the present moment of your reconciliation and your return to grace.
This is where I need to plug our Communal Reconciliation Service to be held HERE AT ST. RITA on Tuesday evening of Holy Week, March 26th, at 7:00 PM. We are currently planning on nine very compassionate and merciful priests who will join us to hear individual confessions. The service begins with an opening hymn, followed by a proclamation of the Word, brief homily and examination of conscience. Then individual confessions are made available and penitents may leave as they wish thereafter. This is a beautiful way to experience this great part of sacramental life in our Church and a wonderful way to personally be involved in Holy Week. It is one thing to observe the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, Our Lord; it is quite another to become a real part of it right here, right now! I pray you will join us and allow yourself this opportunity of grace—the transforming life and love of God living within us. Our parish of St. Rita is blessed to host the Holy Week Penance Service this year, and blessed to have the clergy and faithful of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Pasadena, join us.
Please offer this prayer for discernment for our Pastoral Council as we begin the process of calling forth Nominees.
A Prayer for the Pastoral Council Selection Process
Come, O Holy Spirit of the living God, and show us your ways. Guide our parish discernment of those who are called to the ministry of leadership in and through the work of the parish pastoral council. Grant us wisdom to know our gifts. Call us to put those gifts at the service of your people. Give us zeal and holy courage to respond generously to your invitation. And grant your grace to all in our parish as they seek to live out the mission of Jesus. We pray this in His name, who with you and the sustaining Father is one God, forever and ever. Amen.