The story of the woman accused of adultery present the temptation to go off on adultery for the homily. This seems contrary to the point of the story: God’s radical mercy and lovingkindness. As we approach the goal of Lent, we will want to have an experience of this in our own lives. For our lives are diluted by the desert of this world, and we are scattered in our lack of focus, intent, commitment, and we have been found wanting. None of us are without sin. So we come to Jesus at long last; we come before him and sinners. He alone forgives us. At the end of the story, it is not just the sin of adultery, but the word of Jesus is “do not sin any more.” He broadens the scope of sin to our whole lives and position before God.

This is difficult. People will get fixed on the idea of such easy absolution from adultery; we live in a divorce future, after all. So there’s a bigger point here than adultery. It is about the nature and state of sin which is the condition of this world. The world is a desert, and God come to create water in the desert, as Isaiah says. Of course this would seem to be the waters of baptism, towards which we are headed toward the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

I’m really intrigued by the second reading’s phrase, “God’s upward calling.” This is that “more than you realize” pursuit in all our lives when we conform ourselves to the death and resurrection of Christ.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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