Let us pray.
God of healing,
thank you for your forgiveness and love.
Help us to look forward to Easter
and the celebration of new life.
In the name of Jesus Christ, your son, we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
On this Fifth Sunday of Lent we renew the new life that we received in Baptism. To begin today’s session, take a walk outside with the children to look for signs of new life. Buds on trees, blossoms and cocoons are all signs of rebirth and renewal. Discuss:
- What signs of new life do you notice outside?
- What season of the year shows us the most signs of new life?
- Why is the season of Lent called the Church’s springtime?
Allow time for discussion. Lent is the Church’s season of renewal. During Lent we renew the new life that we have received in baptism and we look forward to celebrating new life at Easter.
Listening to the Word of God
In today’s Old Testament reading listen to the gift of new life that is offered to the Israelites.
Read Isaiah 43:16-21.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- What does the Lord say about the past?
- What does the Lord offer the Israelites?
- Why are the Chosen People given a new beginning?
In the today’s Gospel listen to Jesus give someone the gift of a new beginning.
Read John 8:1-11.
Allow for silence.
- Why is the woman brought before Jesus?
- Who brings her to Jesus?
- What does the Law of Moses say should be done to the woman?
- What does Jesus say after writing on the ground?
- Why does everyone leave accept for Jesus and the woman?
- What does Jesus offer the woman?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
In the first reading from the Old Testament the Israelites are given hope and encouragement during their exile in Babylon. They are told to let go of the things of old because the Lord is giving them a new beginning. God forgives the past transgressions of the Chosen People and offers them new life.
This reading from the book of Isaiah reassures the Israelites that God has not given up on them. They can look forward to what God is about to do on their behalf. After all, they remain God’s Chosen People.
In today’s Gospel reading we hear a story about a woman whom the scribes and Pharisees bring before Jesus because she has been accused of adultery. We get the idea that the religious leaders are trying to trick Jesus so that they will have something to accuse him of. They are quick to point out that the Law of Moses says that the woman should be stoned. Jesus’ reaction is brilliant. After writing in the dirt on the ground he stands up and tells them that whoever is without sin can throw the first stone.
Jesus is left standing alone with the woman. He asks her if anyone has condemned her. Then he tells her to go and sin no more. Jesus gives the woman the gift of a new start. She leaves her encounter with Jesus reconciled to God, to her community and to herself.
This Gospel story reveals that God forgives our past sins and loves us unconditionally. This frees us to let go of the past so that we may lead a new life of grace.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How does the season of Lent help you to start new?
- When have you been given a new start?
- How can you ask for forgiveness during Lent?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
God forgives our sins and loves us unconditionally. In Jesus this divine love is shown fully. Jesus ate and drank with sinners offering them healing and a new start.
For those who have sinned after Baptism, the Sacrament of Reconciliation offers forgiveness and a new start. The healing brought about by the sacrament helps a person to change. Catholics celebrate repentance and conversion in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Why is it important to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
- How does celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation help us to become forgiving people?
- Why is the season of Lent a good time to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Gospel in Life
Find out the date and time for your parish celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation so that you can celebrate the sacrament during Lent.
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 9
Grade 4, page 259 parish and page 367 school, and chapter 14
Grade 5, page 259 parish and page 367 school, and chapter 16
Grade 6, page 259 parish and page 367 school, and chapter 17
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 14
Grade 5, chapter 16
Grade 6, chapter 14