Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him…he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”…And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
During this Year of Mercy, I have read, thought and prayed a lot about exactly what we mean by “mercy.” My favorite description so far comes from James Keenan, SJ: mercy is “the willingness to enter into the chaos of another.” What a perfect way to describe Jesus in today’s Gospel!
The first detail that caught my ear was that the scribes and the Pharisees “made her stand in the middle.” I’ve been relatively fortunate to have most of the chaos of my life not brought to the center of any public scrutiny like the woman in today’s gospel. But Jesus encounters the woman differently than the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus waits until “he was left alone with the woman before him.” I wonder in my own public debates of good and evil, right and wrong: am I making others “stand in the middle” as an object or am I encountering the person – and not just their actions – alone?
Jesus, the face of the Father’s mercy, refuses to allow this woman to be a victim in the game the scribes and Pharisees are trying to play. Their motivation was to test and trap Jesus, not to uphold God’s law or to correct sinful behavior. I hope and pray that as I search for truth and goodness, I won’t allow myself to turn people into issues or tools with which to win an argument.
Now, none of this is to say that Jesus does not see and recognize sin! Jesus tells the woman, “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” Jesus calls the woman, just as he calls each one of us, to move beyond sin. He does so not by condemning her, but by entering into the chaos of her life. As Christopher West says in our Lenten book, Beautiful Mercy, “Ministers of mercy are those willing to enter into the pain and misery of people’s lives, touch their wounds, and surprise them with tender, healing love.” May each of us have the courage to be ministers of mercy, entering into the chaos of others to bring healing and not condemnation.
-Reflection by Chad Griesel – Director of Adult Faith Formation
Who, like this woman, are you called to meet in the chaos of their own lives?
Will you come to judge and condemn or to bring comfort and healing?
Whatever the chaos of your own life has been caused by, do you hear and believe the words of Jesus, “Neither do I condemn you”?
What do you think happens to the woman after this?
What happens to you after you experience the love, mercy, and healing of Christ?
Lenten Almsgiving 2016
As we get closer to the end of Lent, it’s almost time to return the alms collected during our Lenten journey. Whether you are collecting alms for one of our suggested ministry partners or for another program that better connected your heart with the works of mercy, we ask that you please return your alms on Holy Thursday. Please make your check out (no cash please!) directly to the ministry partner and place it in the collection basket. The checks will be collected, sorted and delivered to the organizations. If you can’t turn your alms in on Holy Thursday, you can put it in the collection basket at any time during Easter weekend.
Thanks in advance for your generosity, we hope you’ve had a wonderful Lent so far.
For a list of ministries we are supporting this year, visit our Mercy Calls Your Name – Lent 2016 page.
If you have any questions on our almsgiving project, please contact Andrew Musgrave at the Three Holy Women Parish Office, 414-271-6577. Peace and God bless!
St. Casimir Concert Series this weekend….
The Prata Duo – Mike Keegan, Horn, and Steve Wolff, Piano/Organ – will perform a concert of works that will combine horn and piano and horn and organ for the St. Casimir Organ Concert Series on the historic 1901 Felgemaker organ, Sunday March 13th, 4:00 pm at Our Lady of Divine Providence’s St. Casimir Church (2600 N. Bremen St). There will also be solo works on horn, organ and piano. Mike and Steve will perform pieces by Bach, Faure, Callahan, Stanford, Bozza, and other composers. Also included will be Irish music composed by both Mike and Steve as well as music for Lent. Free admission with a freewill offering will go towards the parish Music Ministry for upkeep of the organ. Reception to follow concert in the back of church. Please join us!
For more information contact Mary Robertson at email@example.com or 414-271-6577.
Catholic East Fish Fry
Last Chance – March 18, 4pm-7pm
SS Peter & Paul Campus Cafeteria – 2480 N. Cramer St.
Adults $10; Seniors/Takeout $9; Kids $6
Stations of the Cross
- Old St. Mary before 12:05pm Mass (11:45am)
- Three Holy Women-St. Hedwig after 5:30pm Mass (6:00pm)
- Three Holy Women-St. Hedwig after 8:15am Mass (8:45am)
- Old St. Mary before 12:05pm Mass (11:45am)