THEME: GOD WILL MAKE A WAY FOR US
READINGS: Isaiah 43:16-21 / Philippians 3:8-14/ John 8:1-11
5th Sunday of Lent
In the days of Moses, God made a way for the Israelites to escape from slavery in Egypt. Similarly, while the descendants of the Israelites were in exile in Babylon, God made a way for them to return to their homeland (cf. Isaiah 43:16-21). Then, according to today’s gospel reading, Jesus made a way for the woman caught in adultery to escape from condemnation and death (cf. John 8:1-11). Beloved, these instances should assure us that God will make a way for us where there seems to be no way.
GOD MADE A WAY FOR THE JEWISH EXILES IN BABYLON
Some centuries after God had made a way through the Red Sea for the Israelites, their descendants found themselves in exile in Babylon, when they had disobeyed God. It was in that situation, according to today’s first reading, that the prophet assured them that the God of their ancestors will make a way for them: “Thus says the Lord, who made a way through the sea, a path in the great waters …no need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light …. Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wild” (Isa. 43:16-19). And indeed, it came to pass that the Jews in Babylon returned to their homeland, as God had promised.
JESUS MADE A WAY FOR THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY
About six centuries after the Jews had returned to their homeland, a woman found herself in a situation whereby, humanly speaking, there was no way out for her. That is, she had been caught in the act of adultery and the Law of Moses prescribed that she be stoned to death (cf. Deut. 22:20-21; John 8:5).
Those who brought her to Jesus Christ, already had stones in their hands to execute her. However, the power of God’s mercy which intervened in the days of Moses and the Jews in Babylon would be at work again through Jesus Christ, who is the only Way to the Father (cf. John 14:6). As Jesus addressed the crowd, God’s mercy shed light on the evil minds of the people who intended to stone the woman. He said to them: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Soon the accusing lot realized that they were also sinners. Consequently, the energy in the arms to commit the evil of killing the woman dissipated. As they dropped their stones, the woman might have felt that the inescapable stone wall of death had been dismantled by Jesus.
Yes, a way out of death was made for the woman. Moreover, Jesus would offer her a way out of a more terrible prison – namely, the grip of sin. Thus, once Jesus knew she was truly repentant of her sin of adultery, He told her: I do not “condemn you, but go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
GOD WILL MAKE A WAY FOR US
Beloved, when there arose a Pharoah in Egypt who did not know Joseph, and so oppressed the Israelites, God made a way through the Red Sea, which was the main obstacle to their escape. Now, in the case of the Jews in Babylon, the main obstacle to their escape was not the Red Sea or a water body, but the Babylonian regime. However, this was no obstacle to God. He made Cyrus, the King of Persia, conquer Babylon; the king then ordered that the Jews returned to their homeland. So, God made the road of escape through the heart and mind of a foreign King. Then, in the case of the woman caught in adultery, who had the double obstacles of sin and imminent death, God made a way through His Son Jesus.
Beloved, the good news is that no obstacle is too big for God, and He is still in the “business” of making ways for those who trust in His mercy. This is His assurance through the prophet Isaiah: “no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light …. Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness”. Therefore, beloved, where there seems to be no way out of our sinful habit, the COVID-19 pandemic, a family tribulation, a business difficulty, personal problem, etc. let us trust absolutely in the supreme power of God’s mercy. Don Moen captures this so well in a song: “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side, with love and strength for each new day. He will make a way (2x)”. You may sing it or pray with its words.
Beloved, in our difficulties, let us trust that God in His infinite wisdom and mercy is working in ways that we cannot see. Finally, as we so trust in Him, may He guide us, hold us closely to His side, with love and strength for each new day. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis