5th Sunday of Lent (C)


On this page for the 5th Sunday of Lent (year C), April 3, 2022, you will find Catholic homily excerpts from Fr. Jude Langeh, Fr. Vincent Hawkswell. Fr. Austin Fleming, Fr. Evans Chama, Fr. Michael CHuaMsgr. Pellegrino, Fr. Phil Bloom, Msgr. Russell Terra, Fr. George Smiga, Fr. Kavanaugh, Fr. Paul Turner, Fr. John McKinnon, Fr. Michael Cummins, Fr. Philip Powell, Fr. Donald Wester, and others.

Featured Homilies


Repent of Sins, Then Focus on Christ



In Lent, we examine our consciences, repent our sins, confess them, accept forgiveness for them, and make reparation for them.

When I was editor of The B.C. Catholic, I once published an examination of conscience to help a reader who did not know how to confess his sins. Afterward, a woman wrote urging that we stop thinking about our sins and instead focus on our relationship with God.

She was partly correct, partly incorrect. We must examine our consciences and repent our sins precisely because they interrupt or even break off our relationship with God. Then, however, we should focus on God, as we hear in this Sunday’s Readings.


Suspense, Lack Kick of the Hero


Suspense absorbs and glues you, rendering you somewhat oblivious to the ticking time. There you are before TV screen, edgy to find out what happens next. Or perhaps it’s a novel. You keep turning pages and there’s no way of putting the book down, you are seized by the urge to see how the mystery finally unties. In the end, that big volume is done in a night is done. What a night! When others are waking up -that’s when you think of sleeping. Oh, power of suspense!

While suspense may be sweet and inviting, at times, it can also be quite agonising. Imagine your hero, towards whom you have now developed some affection, walks right where there’s a trap of explosives; you know it and he doesn’t know. Or perhaps, naively, he enters a room where someone is waiting, ready to pull a trigger on him. You know too well that no matter how hair-raising the trial may be, normally, the Hero should finally come out victorious. His last kick is decisive and overturns the scene. However, even when you are aware of that, you are not spared of emotional sway; you suffer the agony from what you fear to happen to your super hero. Isn’t the film of our life like that?


Engraved in Love and Mercy



Familiarity with this story has made most of us inattentive to gaping holes in the narrative. First, this famous incident took place within the precinct of the Temple, and this is no insignificant detail. Why would this woman be brought into the precinct of the Temple, even if this took place in the outer Court of Women? Shouldn’t the scribes and Pharisees who were most careful about matters concerning ritual purity know that to have a public sinner dragged into the compound of the House of God would be a great affront to God Himself?

Second, who was this unnamed woman? Is she the same woman in Luke 7:47-49 who entered the house of Simon the Pharisee and bathed the Lord’s feet with her tears? And to think that this woman was forgiven once and now caught in another compromising situation? Shouldn’t she deserve a more severe punishment for this repeat offence?

Thirdly, and this may seem oddest of all – the Lord’s parting words to this woman are, “go away, and do not sin anymore.” Curiously, Saint John does not report any penitential resolve on the part of the woman. Although the Lord also does not condemn her, neither does He absolve her of her sin.

But the fourth mystery of this story is one which has puzzled most scholars and commentators, and given rise to many speculations – what was our Lord writing on the ground?



The Woman Taken in Adultery



You and I would probably never pick up a stone to throw at another person in judgment. But there are plenty of times when you and I might be tempted to think that we are “without sin.” But there’s not one person here this morning who doesn’t stand in need of God’s mercy – not one of us. Not one of us is without sin. And every one of us needs the mercy of Jesus. And Pope Francis knows that and he wants that mercy to be ours.

Meeting with the media yesterday morning, the pope told reporters: “How I would love a Church that is poor and is for the poor.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Especially if you’re one who thinks the Church should sell all its property and its famous art and give the money to the poor. But if we are the Church, if you and I are the Church, then we have to ask ourselves, “Will we be poor, for the poor?”



Resisting Cancel Culture

HomiliesST. MARY OF THE VALLEY | 2022

Bottom line: Today we recognize that cancel culture in some form has always been with us and we see how Jesus responded to those who wanted to literally destroy the woman caught in adultery.

In our homily series on forgiveness I have referred to “cancel culture”. Wikipedia defines cancel culture or call-out culture as “a contemporary phrase used to refer to a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person.” We have seen cancel culture, for example, in the “MeToo” movement.

Cancel culture takes different forms, but it is not new. When I was a child, a person could be ostracized and lose their job if it someone discovered they had joined the communist party. That membership involved loyalty to Josef Stalin as the international leader of communism. Even if the membership ended years ago., the person could still face ostracism.



Loving the Sinner


Hate the sin. Love the sinner. We have heard this expression hundreds of times but it still rings true. It succinctly identifies a central teaching of Jesus. Hate the sin. Love the sinner. Today’s gospel might be seen as a dramatic enactment of that saying. The sin in the story is clear. The woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Everyone in the story, hates the sin: the crowd, the leaders, Jesus, even the woman herself. They are all united in hating the sin. There is a disagreement, however, on what to do with the sinner. Some believe that she should be executed, stoned for her crime. Jesus believes that she should not. As we watch this story unfold, three things emerge: a principle, a qualification, and a command.

The principle is this: No person should be equated with his or her sin. People are responsible for their sins, but no person should be defined simply by the sins they commit. Jesus sees the sin of the woman but he sees something more. He also sees the part of the woman that remains good, the part that could change, the hope that things could be different.   This basic insight of Jesus has been reflected through subsequent centuries in Catholic teaching. For Catholics believe that the dignity and worth of every person remains despite the crimes or sins they may commit. Regardless of the horrible things that people do, we continue to believe that the image of God within them is never completely erased.



Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion




Simon of Cyrene appears in one verse of today’s Passion, but he makes a lasting impression. He came from a city located in what is today Libya in northern Africa. In the first century Cyrene had a synagogue, so Simon could have been a Jew approaching Jerusalem that day. Mark’s gospel says he had two sons, Alexander and Rufus. We can easily imagine a strong young Simon with two kids just old enough to remember the crucifixion. Luke calls their father “a certain Simon,” as if his readers would have no idea who this was, a man without any previous connection to Jesus. Perhaps the crowd piqued Simon’s curiosity, and he took the kids up for a closer view. Jesus was doing what condemned criminals were required to do: he carried his own cross, probably the crossbeam because the Romans left the reusable vertical shaft upright at the place of execution.



Losing Everything



The wildfires of the past several years left thousands of people without most of their former life. They lost their homes – and most, if not all, of their personal possessions. Those fires were tragic in their consequences. However, in the past month, millions have lost their homes and their possessions in Ukraine. And what is particularly tragic is that they are also refugees. They have had to flee their homeland. Now, they must find a new life in a place that is not their own! We can only have a small idea of what they continue to suffer – That would be if we were to lose everything we possess in a home fire. Yet, we would not be refugees – Because we would still have family and friends to help us in our need. The Chosen People were not refugees in Babylon. They were captured exiles. They had been forced from their homeland. They had resisted foreign domination and rule in the Promised Land God had given them.

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Are You Mr. and Mrs. Perfect?

Claret Media Cameroon

God loves you and me for whom we are, with our blemishes.
In our Gospel Reading a bunch of self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus with the claim that she was “caught” in the act of adultery. Following the law of Moses, they were going to stone her to death. Where was the Man? We do not commit adultery alone. Only the woman was to be stoned to death. This is called gross injustice. If they were really just, why punish one of the partners and let the other just go free. This woman’s story makes us think of thousands of people who bear the guilt of others and who suffer. They suffer not for the fact that they sinned, but for the fact that they are the weak in the society. They have no money, they are children or women, they are not from a particular race or tribe etc. In effect some suffer because they cannot buy justice to their favour. They bear their own sins and those of others.


Stooping Low

| 2022
Dominican Friars of England & Wales, Scotland

The Lord stoops so low as to take on our debased nature and redeem it.

‘How low can you stoop?’ In a playground context this might be a game, but in the world of the cliché it points to the righteous outrage that follows an act of depravity. We are oriented towards establishing justice, and putting things in order.

The woman in our Gospel passage has stooped to the low point of adultery. She has been caught in the act and her shame laid bare. Her actions shame her family and community, and flout what has been held dear for generations upon generations. She stands accused and makes no attempt to deny the charge or defend herself. The Law is very clear, and she knows her fate: this ‘teacher’ will surely know also. Death by stoning, for stooping so low. The men will be respected for ensuring that the Law is followed and society protected, and she will be no more. It couldn’t be much clearer.



Forget About the Good Old Days, They are Gone



I enjoy the sheer poetry of tonight’s First Reading from Isaiah, and I love its message even more. To me it’s saying, “Forget about the good old days. They’re gone. What is exciting is what is about to happen.” Isaiah had God saying, “See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can’t you see it?” Well, no, I can’t. Can I feel any hope as I look towards the future? But then, hope, real hope, is not a factor of my anticipation of the future. Real hope springs from reading the heart of God.

I have no idea what the Church’s future will be. From our present vantage point it looks bleak – ranging from loss of confidence in the hierarchy [with the exception, perhaps, of Pope Francis], to an unprecedented level of negativity in the population at large towards most things catholic.

When Isaiah, way back in his day, had God speaking of doing a “new deed” for his Jewish people held captive in Babylon, I wonder if its beneficiaries thought of it as good or bad news. As we think of our Church tonight and its possible future, will any [thoroughly necessary] new deed on God’s part take the shape of a general cosmetic overhaul or something much more like drastic surgery? And then, how might we recognize God’s Will, God’s dream? And, unless we recognise it, how can we cooperate with it?


Jesus Shows Mercy and Forgiveness



The Gospel of John lays bare how Jesus living among us showed us mercy and forgiveness.  Jesus shows His loving kindness to the woman caught in adultery. The mercy of God does not condone sin but rather compassionately recognizes repentance and grants forgiveness.  The experience of Christ’s love provides an opportunity to move forward in a renewed life of holiness.  Why should we think that He would not show us the same loving kindness?  We can accept His invitation to believe, to move forward, and to walk the path as His followers.  Especially at this time of Lent.  No matter how much we may stumble and fall, He is always there, inviting us to be with Him, renewing us, urging us to begin again.

Our Christian life is about meeting Jesus every day and knowing that His love for us is ever new. Life in Christ gives us strength to overcome difficulties that come into our lives.  This Lententide is not about being perfect.  Rather, it is about learning to follow the Lord Jesus as best we can, always relying on His love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.  Let us ask during this Lent:  Lord Jesus, renew us with your love.


Be Merciful


“…be merciful, the souls of the faithful need your mercy.”  These are the words given by newly elected Pope Francis to a group of confessors at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome the day after he was elected Bishop of Rome.

These words, I believe, catch the heart of our Lord in today’s gospel passage regarding the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).  We often refer to this passage as “the woman caught in adultery” but it could just as easily be titled, “woman being played by the powers-that-be”.  The scribes and the Pharisees have no regard for this woman nor are they really concerned about the integrity of the Law at this point.  The scribes and the Pharisees rush to Jesus full of energy and accusation with this woman in tow in order to catch our Lord in a trap.  The woman is powerless and she is being played by the powers-that-be.  This is often the situation of the poor in our world.  The poor know this game well.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


The significance of this story of the Woman Caught in Adultery can be magnified if we consider how the whole human race could be that woman caught in adultery. Remember the Chosen People were wedded to God the Father through covenant after covenant. Israel, however, was also caught in the act of “adultery” on more than one occasion by worshiping other gods and allowing depraved foreign customs to intermingle with their culture. Israel was given the law and the prophets. The leaders of Israel found ways over time to corrupt the law and kill the prophets. And so, what is St. Paul’s take on the Law of Moses? It condemns us all. In our second reading from Philippians, Paul essentially says, “I do not have any righteousness of my own based on the law. Any righteousness I can claim comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” What is God’s solution to the problem of sin and the condemnation it brings upon us? God in the person of Jesus Christ steps in front of the flying stones by becoming our Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That is the power of the sacraments of the Church. Grace is conveyed to us by no merit of our own. The question for us becomes how do we live our lives in response to this grace in thought, word, and action?


A Drama of Compassion



We really do not know who this woman was. Tradition holds that it was Mary Magdalene, who went on to become one of Jesus’ closest followers. Mary Magdalene is often united with Martha’s sister, Mary of Bethany. Perhaps that was her, or perhaps this was another person. Jesus was often accused of associating with tax collectors and prostitutes. The gospels were not concerned with individuals, they were concerned with presenting Jesus’ message, the message of the Kingdom. I like to think it was Mary Magdalene, though. That is the tradition of the Church. When Mary Magdalene was first mentioned by name, she was called the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven devils, a woman who had thoroughly been in the grasp of the devil. All four Gospel present Mary Magdalene at the crucifixion and as the first one who experienced the Resurrection.



Is Your Name Written in the Dirt?


The story of the adulterous woman and Jesus’ merciful response to her sin can be a trap for us. Has been a trap for us. When finally left alone with the woman, Jesus asks her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She answers, “No one, sir.” Jesus is the only one left to pass judgment, the only one truly qualified to condemn her for her sin. He says, instead, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” The trap for us here is to read Jesus’ challenge to the accusers and this final act of mercy as a judgment against calling out sin. In other words, b/c Jesus shows the accusers to be sinful themselves and b/c he does not condemn the woman, we’re to believe that no one should ever call a sin Sin. When the Pope or our bishops challenge abortion or same-sex marriage, how often do we hear the culture respond, “They shouldn’t throw stones given their track record on sexual abuse”? Somehow Jesus’ challenge to the righteousness of the woman’s accusers has been perverted into a blanket denial that sin can be named Sin. What’s missing here is Jesus final word to the woman, “Go and sin no more.” He grants mercy to the person while naming sin Sin.


Resenting Forgiveness

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

What do we do when we nab the adulterers of the world or the adulterer in our hearts? Do we want to stone them? What penalty will we exact of the sinner around and within us? Jesus says, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.” While we rush to judgment and condemnation, Jesus does not. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

This may be a troubling thought. The forgiveness seems too fast; our efforts at virtue seem not to count. Indeed, this is a new way, a new path through the sea of life. Isaiah foretold it: “See I am doing something new. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” The psalmist sang, “The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy.”


The Kingdom of God is About Mercy and Love

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

“See, I am doing something new.” These words were proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah many years ago. God declares that something new is happening. As we hear these words, we could focus our attention on signs and wonders, even though Jesus told us not to do that. We could try to figure out when the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus is to occur, but Jesus told us not to do that. So what is this “something new” that God is doing?

We see evidence of it throughout the history of God’s people, especially in the person of Jesus. In the reading from the Gospel of Luke for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, we see Jesus treat another sinner in an unexpected way. He doesn’t condemn her, but instead He uses the circumstance to bring to light the hypocrisy and the arrogance of her accusers. Jesus tries to teach us over and again that the kingdom of God is about mercy and love. That is the good news, especially when we are on the receiving end.

We all know what it feels like to be treated with mercy instead of only justice. We like it when we don’t get what we deserve, especially when we have wronged someone else or chosen some other act of evil. We appreciate the times that people can see beyond our sin and notice the godliness in us. We love to receive the dignity that we deserve even when we aren’t at our best. We all know what a gift that is. So why is it so difficult for us to treat others in the same way?

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In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Andrew Fisher Guest Choir: St. Leo the Great Parish Children’s Choir, Fairfax, Virginia

Year C Homilies for this Sunday

Father Mark Kovacik
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Father Mark Kovacik is the Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Boulder Colorado. Homily Archive

Father Bryce Sibley

Jesus Does Not Want to Shame Us

Father JD Matherne

Condemnation or Mercy?

Jesuit Institute SA

The Lack People Have to Live According to the Law

Father Paul Rutten

How Jesus Responds to Sin and the Law

Catholic Daily Reflections

The Wisdom that Comes with Age

This passage comes from the story of the woman caught in adultery when she is dragged before Jesus to see if He would support her stoning.  His response is perfect and, in the end, she is left alone to encounter the tender mercy of Jesus.

But there is a line in this passage that is easily overlooked.  It is the line that states, “…beginning with the elders.”  This reveals an interesting dynamic within human communities.  Generally speaking, those who are younger tend to lack the wisdom and experience that comes with age.  Though the young may find it hard to admit, those who have lived a long life have a unique and broad picture of life.  This enables them to be far more prudent in their decisions and judgments, especially when it comes to the more intense situations in life.

FATHER Andrew Ricci

God’s Judgment Offers Mercy

The encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery offers an insight into both the judgment and mercy of God. May we cherish the Lord’s compassion as we honestly examine our hearts for whatever keeps us from God and one another.

FATHER Cory Sticha

Receiving something new in our lives from God


FATHER Paul Turner

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

No Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent, Year C

🎧 Listen to Podcast – Palm Sunday, Year C (2019) | ARCHIVE

Sunday Gospel Commentary / HOMILIES

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