The Gospel according to John (8:1-11)
While 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 anymore.”
Reflection: This Gospel reading, and this verse has always engrossed me … “Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger”. I have always wondered what he was writing. Was He just doodling and stalling waiting to come back with a good response OR was He writing something?
This Gospel reading reminds me of a joke. So here was Jesus, once again preaching and teaching to the scribes and Pharisees, who brought this woman that they have accused of adultery. So, Jesus tells them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” As Jesus stood up and said this, suddenly a stone passes right by Jesus’ head! Jesus looks around wondering who threw it because he thought everyone on earth are sinners. As he looks around and the crowd could see what he is looking for, they separate to show the person that threw it. When Jesus saw who it was, he exclaimed, “Mom! I told you to stop following me around”!
We are quick to judge one another and yet we ourselves are not perfect. In fact, we may be guilty of the same occurrence or sin but we are quick to pass judgement. How many times have we pre-judged someone only to find out later the facts and realized you were wrong in your judgement? Let’s take for example what social media and society has “blown out of the water”. Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscar’s. We automatically have taken a side and condemned one of the two. But why should we even bother? What does that accomplish by condemning one of them? Isn’t it true that every time we recite these words from “The Lord’s Prayer”; ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’, we are stating that we should forgive our fellow brother and sisters?
All who are any way called to blame the faults of others, are especially concerned to look at themselves, and keep themselves pure (or close to it). Jesus aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins. The Pharisees thought they would trick him, but Jesus wanted to convince and convert them. He declined to deal with all the drama … sound familiar? When Christ sent her away, it was with caution. He said, “Go, and sin no more”. Jesus allows the woman to see a new freedom. Not only is she saved from stoning, but he asks her to move on.
Action of the Day: How many times has God allowed us this freedom from sin? How can you see Christ in people? How can you see people in people? Or how can you see people in you? I am not referring to the people that you know and love. I am referring to the people you don’t know or to the people you don’t love.