Today's Gospel: John 8:1-11 - Fifth Sunday of Lent This Gospel reading is a familiar one. This story of Jesus and the adulteress has us finding ourselves in both positions of accuser and accused. We can remember the times when we have thrown rocks when we should’ve been merciful, and we can remember the times when we have had rocks thrown at us when we should’ve been receiving mercy. We also can remember the times when we are the fly on the wall, watching people throw rocks, unsure of whether we should join in or not. In each generation, we are faced with opportunities to show mercy and with each opportunity to show mercy there will be division. If we look back to the time of the Great Persecution, 200-300 AD, when “so many [Catholics] were killed on a single day that the axe, blunted and worn out by the slaughter, was broken in pieces, while the exhausted executioners had to be periodically relieved” (Eusebisus, Historia ecclesiastica VIII, 9) we will see martyrs of the faith like Saints Perpetua and Felicity. And then we will see the lapsi who became traitors and renounced their faith. Following this Persecution, those lapsi wanted to return to the faith and that began a tremendous rift between those who wanted justice and those who wanted compassion. Following the words of Christ, the Church ruled in favor of mercy and the lapsi were allowed back into the fold of Christian brethren. As one can imagine, the blood would’ve been boiling. Would you be able to hold hands with a traitor of the faith if your son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother was martyred because this lapsi told the Roman government where your family was hiding? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” would take on a whole new meaning.


In this generation, who are the "lapsi" we need to forgive?


Father of Mercy, my heart is molded for justice. Please give me the grace to see as You see and love as You love.
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