SATURDAY AFTER THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
GOSPEL. ST. JOHN vii, 1-11.
(The Adulteress, and the Afflicted Mother.)
At that time: Jesus went unto Mount Olivet. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him, and sitting down He taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees bring unto Him a woman taken in adultery and they set her in the midst. And said to Him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest Thou? And this they said tempting Him that they might accuse Him. But Jesus bowing Himself down, wrote with His finger on the ground: when therefore they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, He wrote on the ground. But they hearing this went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up Himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accuse thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
Although our divine Savior hates sin, and especially the sin of impurity, still He has compassion on this sinner who was guilty of death. The reason is because He knows that the law of God, though it is deeply inscribed in our hearts, may, by our frailty and remissness be as easily effaced as letters written in sand. Therefore He puts to shame the inconsiderate accusers: He does not condemn the poor sinful woman; He only tells her: Go, and now sin no more.
The afflicted mother of Jesus imitates her divine Son. After the unjust condemnation of Jesus, she had followed Him to many of the places hallowed by His passion and suffered with Him all the pain that He endured for the sins and the ingratitude of men. But when the gathering of the people, the march of the soldiers, and the clamor of the Jews announced that the way of the cross had begun, Mary could no longer suppress her desire to see her divine Son. Praying and wringing her hands with the grief of a mother’s heart, she constrained herself to look upon her Jesus; but, over whelmed with grief she became pale as a corpse, when He turned upon her those eyes suffused with blood yet still beaming with pity and sympathy from beneath His crown of thorns. Mary saw not the soldiers, nor the executioners, nor the ungrateful, scoffing people; she saw only her beloved, ill-treated, meek and patient Son, and she experienced what the prophecy of Simeon had foretold: "Thy own soul, a sword shall pierce." She does not condemn us guilty sinners, but she entreats Jesus for us, saying: "Lord be merciful unto them; they are indeed sinners, but they are Thy children and my children."
LET US PRAY.
Grant, we beseech Three, O almighty God, that they who, to mortify their flesh, abstain from food, may by following justice, abstain from sin.
O Mary, the afflicted mother of God, by the compassion which Thy Son displayed for poor sinners and by thy grief and pain in the sad meeting on the way of the cross, obtain for us the grace to be considerate and merciful toward our unfortunate fellow-beings, that, in life and death, we may become partakers of the mercy of Jesus, and of thy loving intercession and powerful protection. Amen.