Based on the Gospel of John 8:1–11

Spring is here! That means change – from drab winter to fresh spring. Nature is beginning to waken from its dark winter sleep. The hours of daylight are getting longer. Trees will bud, flowers will bloom, shrubs will turn green or blossom, grass will turn from dull to bright green, and moms will start spring housecleaning.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches about change, mercy and forgiveness. The scribes and Pharisees bring a woman who has been caught in sin to stand before Jesus as he is teaching in the temple. They say, “This woman has been caught doing something very wrong, and the law says that she should be stoned.” Wanting to trap Jesus, they ask, “What do you think should be done?”

If Jesus doesn’t join in condemning the woman, they’ll accuse him of not caring about the Law of Moses. If Jesus joins in condemning the woman, then all his teaching about God’s mercy, forgiveness, and reaching out to sinners means nothing.

Silence follows. Jesus bends down and traces on the ground with his finger. After a short time, Jesus stands up and says, “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!” One by one they drop their stones and silently slink away until finally Jesus and the woman are there alone.

The scribes and Pharisees wanted to punish the woman, but Jesus cleverly changed the focus from the woman to them. Without directly judging or accusing the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus gently makes them aware of their own sinfulness.

Jesus then asks the woman, “Where is everyone?  Isn’t there anyone left to condemn you?” “No one, sir,” the woman answered. Then Jesus said, “I am not going to condemn you either. Go now, sin no more, and make a fresh start.”

For the third Sunday in a row, the Gospel lesson has been about change, mercy and forgiveness. Jesus will always forgive us if we are sorry for the sins we’ve committed. When we are sorry, Jesus not only forgives us but gives us another chance to change our hearts to be good and to make a fresh start – just like the woman in this Sunday’s Gospel! Just like the season of spring!

Continue through the remaining days of Lent to spring clean your heart for Jesus!