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Sunday, April 1, 2001

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21
Philippians 3:8-14
Psalm 126
John 8:1-11

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olive branches

"Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives." —John 8:1

Jesus customarily went to the Mount of Olives (Lk 22:39). On it is the Garden of Gethsemani where Jesus suffered His terrible agony (see Mt 26:30, 36). Zechariah prophesied that at the end of the world the Lord's "feet shall rest upon the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives shall be cleft in two...and half of the mountain shall move to the north and half of it to the south" (Zec 14:4). The Mount of Olives has been and will be of great importance in God's plan.

On the Mount of Olives, Jesus:

  • repeatedly cried out in agony, "Abba" (Mk 14:36),
  • prayed to His Father: "Not My will but Thine be done" (Mt 26:39, our transl),
  • asked three apostles and all of us to watch and pray one hour with Him (Mt 26:40), and
  • "prayed with all the greater intensity, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Lk 22:44).

After Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, He:

  • "bent down and started tracing on the ground with His finger" when asked about condemning an adulteress (Jn 8:6),
  • said: "Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her" (Jn 8:7), and
  • said: "Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on, avoid this sin (Jn 8:11).

All the words and actions of Jesus related to the Mount of Olives go together. Jesus could not forgive the adulteress without suffering for her sins in His agony and crucifixion. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you about all that has happened and will happen because of the Mount of Olives.

Prayer:  Father, may I set aside an hour a day to pray.

Promise:  "I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my Wealth and I may be in Him." —Phil 3:8-9

Praise:  Praise Jesus, agonized, crucified, risen, and glorified!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 9, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2000