Sunday, March 21, 2010

5th Sunday of Lent: Etched in Sand?

Fr. Anthony Criscitelli, T.O.R., pastor of St. Bridget's Church in North Minneapolis, raised an interesting and thought provoking point in his homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent. He noted that a number of scripture scholars have speculated what Jesus may have been scribbling in the sand during his confrontation with the scribes and pharisees over what to do with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Some scripture scholars speculate he was simply scribbling something non-sensical, a "delay" tactic employed to keep his detractors distracted while he thought of a response. Other scholars suggest he was scribbling the names of the lawyers and pharisees who surrounded him and also writing down some of their own transgressions. Fr. Anthony took the novel approach of focusing on the medium upon which Jesus was writing. In other words, if Jesus was writing down the sins of the elders, he was doing so in sand, a medium that can easily be changed with the slightest breeze, brush of the hand, or placement of a foot. Fr. Anthony than pointed out that our own "slate" or "history" of mistakes, sins, faults, and failings are similarly "etched in sand" to God, and that this slate can easily be "wiped clean" by allowing the Spirit to blow in, through, and over our lives, providing the possibility of a fresh start and empowering us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Pat, TOR