Your Savior

5th Sunday of Lent
Beloved in Jesus Christ,
Today we read in the Holy Gospel, about this woman caught in adultery. Obviously there was also a man involved, but he seems to have sneaked away. Adultery is a poison, it is a sickening attack on holy marriage, on the other spouse, and on the children. Some of us have seen it’s cruel work, it’s ability to change a happy family into bitter tears.
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The ancient Jews and even today some Muslim societies prescribe stoning to death for this sin, because this crime is a horrible blow to family life. We may think that stoning is too harsh of a punishment, but actually, if the adulterer dies without repentance, his punishment will be much worse than stoning: Eternal Damnation; the bible is quite clear about this.
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But God, in his Providence, did not want sin to have the last word. In the new dispensation, Jesus Christ comes to show us that sin – even very serious sin – can be overcome.
By his bitter Passion – by God’s suffering on Calvary – he redeems us from sin, making it possible for a repentant sinner to be healed, and making forgiveness possible.
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When I was a young and naïve priest, an older couple asked if I could bless their marriage, since they’d been married for 60 years. I said, ‘Marvelous!, 60 wonderful years.’ But the man stopped me: ‘It was not all wonderful father,’ ‘There was infidelity, I was unfaithful, but I repented;’ and – as he looked at his wife he said – there was forgiveness.’ Holding hands, they tightened their grip, and she said: ‘Our love is stronger now, than ever before.’
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It is the Passion and death of Jesus Christ that makes it possible to conquer evil, that sin will not have the last word. Soon we will be in Holy Week, and we will walk with Christ in his Passion. This is really the reason that Jesus came into the world, to die for us, to save us, to change everything.
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Once upon a time, there was a great king, who had one, only son, so beautiful, so holy, so good, that he was the delight of his father who loved him as much as himself. Now this son of the king cared very much for one of his servants; so much so, that when that servant had committed a crime and was condemned to death for it, the son offered to die in the place of that servant.
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The father was sad, but he agreed, and allowed his son to be condemned to death in order that that servant might be free from the punishment he deserved; and so the son of the king died the miserable death of a criminal, out of love for that servant.
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Now this story is ridiculous and has never happened in the world and never will, but it is told to us in the Gospels; there we read that the Son of God, seeing that man was condemned to death as punishment for his sins, chose to take upon himself human flesh, and thereby, pay by his death, the penalty that we owed. This is the love of Jesus Christ for us; it shows us how much he has sought us out.
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Our Lord is called the good shepherd. One of those sheep goes straying off where it should not be; – that’s us – driven by curiosity and temptation, into sins of all kinds. Yet this dear shepherd leaves the beauty of heaven to search and search, until he finds us. Seeing that the wolf will kill that little lamb; he gives his life in exchange for the lamb, so the lamb may live. The heart of Jesus is so full of love that he never gives up on us.
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So what then must be our response? We must love Him with our whole heart. We must repent of our sins. We must forgive those who have trespassed against us. And above all, we must unite ourselves to Him daily; speaking to this dear Savior every day in our prayers.
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When we rise, we offer the day to God. We pray at meals and before bedtime: that’s 5 times. We should speak to Jesus often during the day, in our work and in our play. Read a little from the Holy Bible or a spiritual book. In this way, we remain united to the God who has died for us.
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St. Zeno says that Jesus Christ wanted to have for his earthly father a carpenter; he wanted this, so that he could learn carpentry, and thereby handle wood and nails. He says: ‘The Son of God took delight in carpentry work, which, by often using wood and nails, was reminded of the cross, by which he would save mankind.’
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Why did Jesus suffer scourging, thorns, mockery, and death for we ungrateful sinners? It was because he loves us. He saw us spoiled with sin, and made for us a bath in his own blood that we might be cleansed and become dear to God. Christ came upon the earth principally that we might know his love, be forgiven, and ourselves forgive. We then, must return that love by living the Gospel and by praying every single day of our life….. and praying to Mary too!
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The Blessed Virgin was at the cross at the moment of our redemption.
The soldiers, taunting Jesus, ‘Come down from that cross!’
But not Mary: ‘O Jesus, stay on the cross, and save us.’
When we get to Holy Week, let’s stay at the cross with Mary, and pray: ‘Lord, help me; help a sinner who wishes to love you.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Nicholas]

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