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Sunday, 4/7/2019, Fifth Sunday of Lent

In Today—For Tomorrow

First Reading Commentary: Isaiah 43:16-21

There is yesterday, today and tomorrow. We live in today and today is a grand and glorious day because it is the day that God has made. God does not do His work in yesterday or tomorrow. He does it in today and God works every day which means that God does something new every day.

In today’s prophecy, Isaiah is referring to the exodus out of Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army when he says, “Thus says the LORD…Remember not the events of the past.” Isaiah is not telling us to literally forget the past. We should know our history because history has much to teach us but Isaiah’s point is that we cannot live in the past. If we are to be Godlike in the way that we live our lives, we have to live in today.

Some people say, “Live for today because tomorrow is not promised.” I do not subscribe to that thinking but that is another commentary. For now, let me just say that I find it difficult to believe in heaven as I do and believe that there is no tomorrow. The promise of the Kingdom of Heaven is the promise of tomorrow and therefore, there will be a tomorrow.

Notice that I said that, “…we have to live in today” and not “for today.” Remember, heaven is tomorrow. And that brings us to the point of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Every blessing that God bestows on us is something new. Beginning with allowing us to wake up in the morning, ending with allowing us to fall asleep at night and including every good thing that happens to us during the day or even as we are asleep; it is God working in today to make things new. Even the bad things that happen can be blessings designed to make us appreciate all that is good.

When we feel that there is no way, God will find a way. Where there is nothing, God will make something. That is what Isaiah is telling us and if you have never heard that sermon preached, you have never been to church.

But the beauty of this message is in the why. Why does God always find a way? Why does God always make something out of nothing? Why does God make things new?  It is so that we might announce His praise by realizing that we are nothing and can do nothing without Him. In other words, so that we might receive the gift of, Awe and Wonder.

It is because God loves us so much that He wants us to be with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven forever! That is why God makes all things new in today for tomorrow. Tomorrow is in Revelation 21:3 where the One from the throne says, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God].”

The Only Thing That Matters

Second Reading Commentary: Philippians 3:8-14

St. Paul clearly understands what Isaiah tells us when he writes in his letter, “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”

To pursue God’s upward calling is to look forward to being with Him in heaven. When we do that, we attain righteousness from God. But that righteousness is based on faith. 

We have to believe in the power of the Resurrection knowing that through His Resurrection, Christ defeated death. We also have to share in Christ’s suffering because it is our sins that Christ left on the cross and we must repent for those sins in order to receive the grace of God’s forgiveness.

The grace of God’s forgiveness causes us to die to sin so that we can be resurrected into eternal life. Paul is telling us to do our best to stay away from the temptation of sin by giving up everything that is of this world.

That does not mean that we should not enjoy the good things that God has given us in this life. But it does mean that we should not live for the things that are of this world. Nothing of this world should be our priority in life because none of it matters in the next life and as the saying goes, “we cannot take it with us.”

It does not matter how righteous we may think we are because of our religion. It does not matter how much status we have. It does not matter how much we have in material and financial possessions. The only thing that matters is our love and faith in God allowing ourselves to be taken possession of by Christ Jesus so that we might enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Do Not Condemn

Gospel Commentary: John 8:1-11

The scribes and Pharisees challenged Jesus by bringing a woman who was an adulterer to Him saying that the Law of Moses called for such a woman to be stoned. They asked Jesus, “So what do you say?”

In His answer, Jesus gives us a couple of very strong messages. The first message is obvious and most of us get that one. He tells us not to condemn others for their sins when we are sinners ourselves. But Jesus also gives us another message which is not so obvious and too many of us overlook or ignore.

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Think about it. With these words, Jesus is also telling us that capital punishment is wrong. It is not our place to put someone to death.

None of us knows when or how we will die. God decides that. It is not for us to make that decision with our own life or with the life of someone else. We enter into a very dangerous situation with God because we are in violation of the commandment, “Thou shall not kill” and worse yet; we are making the decision of when another person should live or die. In effect, we are playing God. For me, this is the reason why we should join the Church in respecting the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception up to and including death.

No one could condemn the woman because no one in the crowd was without sin. So, one by one, they all went away and Jesus was left alone with the woman.

Notice what Jesus tells the woman when He is alone with her. “Neither do I condemn you. Go…and do not sin anymore.” If Jesus does not condemn us for our sins, what makes it right for us to condemn each other? I am not saying that there should be no punishment for violating the law of the land. I am saying that Jesus tells us very clearly not to condemn. Consider this: We punish our children when they misbehave but we do not condemn them because we love them.

In keeping with the message of “making things new” which we hear throughout this Lent, there are two important things to consider in this gospel. First, Jesus made things new with the Law of Moses. No longer would it be right for anyone to put another person to death for the crimes that they have committed. To do so would be to condemn that person and clearly, Jesus is telling us not to do that.

Second, Jesus made things new with the woman by forgiving her of her sins and giving her a new start in life. This is what happens in Confession. God does not condemn us. Instead, God forgives us and makes things new by giving us a fresh start in life.


Did you ever stop to consider the idea that God makes all things new every day? He does. Every day is a new day, each new day is a new gift from God who is the Creator of all things, therefore, God makes all things new every day.

Reading 1          Isaiah 43:16-21

Thus says the LORD, who opens a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, who leads out chariots and horsemen, a powerful army, till they lie prostrate together, never to rise, snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 126:1-6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, They shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2          Philippians 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters: I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

Gospel          John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

St. John the Baptist
de La Salle

(4/30/1651 - 4/7/1719)
Patron Saint of: Teachers

Thus says the LORD, "Remember not the events of the past...I am doing something new!"

St. Paul tells us to forget what lies behind but strain forward to what lies ahead: God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

Verse Before the Gospel

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.

Jesus does not condemn us. Instead, Jesus forgives us and makes things new and Jesus makes it clear that we are not to condemn each other.

St. Julie Billiart

(7/12/1751 - 4/8/1816)

St. Casilda

(d. c. 1050)

St. Magdalen of Canossa

(3/1/1774 - 4/10/1835)

St. Stanislaus

(7/26/1030 - 4/11/1079)
Patron Saint of: Poland

St. Teresa of Los Andes

(7/13/1900 - 4/12/1920)

Pope St. Martin I
(d. 9/16/655)

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