April 7, 2019: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Preaching for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Kaya Oakes, offers three insights from the passage about the woman “caught” in adultery: 1. “Jesus instead chooses not to condemn her. And that’s not the same thing as forgiveness, because, perhaps, in her case, there’s nothing for him to forgive;” 2. “What if she didn’t do it?... It’s entirely possible the ‘adultery’ this anonymous woman was caught in was really something else,” and 3. “the woman never asks for forgiveness. Unlike those who’ve been accused, who’ve been found guilty and who have publicly begged for forgiveness, she is silent, until Jesus asks who has really condemned her, and her answer is no one.”
This leads Oakes to conclude, “It’s no coincidence that our other readings today are about new ways of doing things, new ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.” She ends: “Our newness might look like this: that we might speak, and be believed, instead of being dismissed. That when we’re falsely condemned, judged, or criticized, we might stop condemning ourselves. That we might not be condemned for things we did not do, but instead be set free. That we might learn to atone rather than apologize when we have actually done real harm. That we might get, for the first time, to tell our own stories, instead of having them told.”
Kaya Oakes teaches nonfiction writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of four books, including Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture (Henry Holt, 2009); Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church (Counterpoint Press, 2012); and The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In-Between (Orbis Books, 2015). Her writing has appeared in America, Commonweal, Slate, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Narratively, Religion Dispatches, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, and many other publications.
Visit www.catholicwomenpreach.org/preaching/04072019 to view her preaching video or read her preaching text and for more preaching from Catholic women.