MONDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Sin is all around us. We are walking through the valley of darkness. Yet woven into today’s readings and the Psalm are the themes of forgiveness, justice and the absolute patience of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As I have reflected on the readings throughout this Lenten season, I have heard more clearly than ever before the theme of turning our back on God through sin. I have noted how frequently in the readings Jesus is spending time one on one with a sinner. The adulterer, the blind, those bearing false witness all represent the sinners. Temptation and sin are hazards of our daily lives. Sin is a turning away from the teaching of God and from those we love, from God’s love. And when we sin, we lose sight of the larger goal for our human existence. We fast and pray during lent in an effort to turn away from sin.
But not sinning ourselves, while necessary, is insufficient. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus’ challenges us not to judge others. “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone...” Tossing the first stone, judging another’s actions by our standards, is so easy! As Christians, we are called to forgiveness, called to love others, wherever they may be in their lives. When confronted with the temptation to judge another, I try to remind myself what it may be like to “walk in their shoes” and resist the temptation to judge their decisions/behaviors by my standards.Each of us has our own journey through the Valley of Darkness, a journey in a world full of sin and temptation, challenge and opportunity. As we travel this journey we have the opportunity to invite the Lord to be at our side – and the Lord, our rod and staff to give us courage is there if only we ask. He can be our companion, our courage to turn back to those we love, to turn away from sin. In turning away from sin, we have the chance to turn back to the Lord and to our ultimate goal, the achievement of eternal life. We need only invite Him into our hearts and our lives.
Dr. Angela Sharkey is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, School of Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics.