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The Adulterous Woman

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio - Free Lenten Resources!The Adulterous Woman 

 

By: Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

Mary Magdalene, The Passion of Christ, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

It really looked like the end of the road for her.  Caught in the act of a capital crime, her fate lay in the hands of an angry mob.  Desiring to kill two birds with one stone, the rabbi decided to use her as a political pawn, and so dragged her to Jesus

 

But they badly miscalculated.  He replied to their tough question with a tougher question.  They planned to embarrass him.  But he embarrassed them.  Reduced to silence, they were forced to admit the hypocrisy of their self-righteousness.  They walked away and left her standing there before the only one who was truly righteous.  But Righteousness did not condemn.  He forgave.  Now that’s different!  It really hadn’t been seen ever before, at least not like this.  “See I am doing something new!  Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  (v. 19 of Isaiah 43, but please, read the whole chapter!).

 

Jesus offers this anonymous adulteress a brand new start.  She could have been Mary Magdalene, as in Mel’ Gibson’s film.  Or she could have been anyone.  We are all guilty of adultery, at least in sense that the book of Hosea uses the word.  God is the spouse who has given us everything and deserves our exclusive loyalty.  We should worship the ground he walks on.  But instead we’ve cheated on him, looking for thrills from other lovers who have not delivered what they promised.  Given that he is the source of Life itself, rejecting Him means choosing death.

 

It seems so easy for Jesus to say to the adulteress (and to all of us) “neither do I condemn you.”  With those words, he saved her from death and gave her a new lease on life.  So what did it cost her?  “Go and sin no more” is her program.  She must change her life.

 

Mary and the Cross, The Passion of The Christ

But what did it cost Him?  Everything.  He was required not just to change his life, but to lose it.  In Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” one of the most poignant scenes is when mother Mary rushes to be with Jesus as he collapses under the weight of the cross.  In that agonizing moment that he looks up at her and says, “See, I make all things new (Rev. 21:5).

 

A famous German theologian murdered by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pointed out the difference between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.”  Grace is free.  It is the absolutely unmerited gift of pardon and loving friendship extended to us by God in a way that transforms us and makes all things new.  But such grace is not cheap.  It was paid for by the suffering of God’s Son, suffering that he willingly embraced out of love for us.

 

Saint Stephen, Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Paul needed this grace desperately.  He occupied a conspicuous place among the self-righteous, a member of the blood-thirsty crowd that stoned Stephen.  When on the road to Damascus he realized who he was and what he deserved, he saw the grace offered to him as more precious than gold.  It was the pearl of great price.  In light of this treasure, all else appeared as trash (he actually uses a rather vulgar word for “compost” in Phil 3:8).  He was not satisfied to be a passive spectator.  Rather he wanted to share personally in Christ’s sufferings and so come to experience the exhilarating power of his resurrection, the love that is stronger than death.  He saw the heavenly finish line ahead and decided to go for the gold.

 

That grace is available to you.  The question is, how precious do you view it?  What value do you place on it?  It is offered to you daily through the Eucharist, the Word of God, and prayer.  Are you too busy to fit these into your schedule?   How much effort do you make to grasp the prize?  Are you sprinting, walking, or just moping?

The Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson 

Actions speak louder than words.  Let’s examine where we spend our time, money and energy.  That will tell us what it is that we really value most.

 

This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on the readings for the 5th Sunday in Lent, cycle C (Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126:1-6; Philippians 3:8-12; John 8:1-11)

 

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This article is featured in the Prayer & Spirituality, Easter Season, and the Lent & Holy Week sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.

 


 

The Passion - (CD) The Meaning of the Movie - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
 Mel Gibson, The Passion of Christ, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Lent, The Catholic Church, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ What is The Passion about? Why did Mel Gibson release the movie on Ash Wednesday? The Passion - The Meaning of the Movie, a 45 minute talk will answer these and many questions.

 


 

I Believe - The Heart of Catholic Faith

First given as a Lenten retreat, this is an awesome 4 session program to revitalize your faith and prepare you for the joy of Easter. Great for individuals or families or small groups. The workbook is a treasure of discussion questions, devotions and spiritual exercises that can serve as an easy-to-follow roadmap through the Lent or Holy Week that will break you out of stale patterns and enrich both your prayer and your understanding of the central truths of the Catholic faith, empowering you to share that faith with others.

 


 

 

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This enlightening, four-part adult faith formation series was developed to help Catholics understand and embrace the Feast of the Eucharist. Peppered with humor and practical examples, the Feast of Faith is enjoyable to watch and its teaching is easy to remember.  The 20 minute segments are the perfect amount of time to develop a theme without wearing the audience out! Discussion questions provided in the study guide make the leader's job easy. This DVD and Workbook Set is perfect for your Lenten Bible Study group or for your own Feasting!

 


 

A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions About The Passion of The Christ

A Guide to The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson, Catholic ChurchMillions of people have seen Mel Gibson’s epic film The Passion of The Christ. This movie is not just another extraordinary Hollywood production—it’s a personal call for each of us to encounter the person of Jesus Christ. Co-Authored by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. it answers 100 questions about Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ.

 


 

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