We are just days away from entering Holy Week, the holiest week of the year (Palm
Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is April 14). On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, as we read the
Gospel about the woman caught in adultery ( John 8:1-11), may we slow down from
the busy-ness of our daily duties and answer the question: “What are you looking for?” In the New Testament, one of the first questions that Jesus asked the first disciples is, “What are you looking for?” On some level, Jesus asks this question to every person He encounters. In Saint John’s Gospel, as the scribes and Pharisees ask Him whether they should stone this poor sinner, Jesus tells them that whoever has not sinned may cast the first stone. When Jesus says this, we might think of Him saying, “What are you looking for? When you sin, is that what you want? Do you want public shame and condemnation, or do you want mercy?” As the Scribes and the Pharisees silently slink away, they answer the question with an honesty they were lacking when they first approached Jesus. As the woman looks into Jesus’ gaze, it is as if Jesus is asking her, “What are you looking for? Does the image of love that you were running after satisfy you? Does it compare with the Love that forgives you at this very moment and promises mercy and life forever in Heaven?”
In this Season of Lent, let us contemplate Jesus Christ’s question. As we stumble
along amidst our culture’s false images of love and happiness, as we do battle with pride and selfishness, as we look on the faces of those we love, as we approach the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, let us hear Jesus’ tender interrogation, “What are you looking for?” By God’s grace, as we approach Holy Week and Easter, may we continue to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, to look for Jesus. Let us look for Jesus Christ with the focus, intensity and desire of His faithful disciples, trusting in His mercy, love and providence, and follow Him in our words and deeds. For we do indeed seek Him and find Him in our prayer, in His Church, Word, Sacraments, Commandments, communion of saints, and virtues of faith, hope and love. And we need not look too far, for Jesus Christ is with us always (Matthew 28:20).
Let us pray for 15 of our young people (along with nearly 20 other young people from
nearby parishes) who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this Wednesday, April 10, at 7pm, at a Mass at Saint Clement offered by Monsignor James Bartylla, the administrator of the Diocese of Madison. As the newly Confirmed are strengthened by the Holy Spirit and His gifts of wisdom, counsel, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-3), may they strive by God’s grace to bear the fruits of the Spirit in their words and deeds: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity (Galatians 5:22-23).
With peace and prayers in Christ,