Scriptures of the Day:
Throughout the Lenten Season we have been experiencing the tremendous love and mercy of God. It speaks to us loudly and clearly in today’s gospel about the woman caught in adultery. She was brought to Christ crying, embarrassed, full of shame and guilt, carrying the burden of her sin. I can only imagine how fearful she must have been, not knowing what was going to happen to her. She was humiliated in front of all the people who had gathered around Jesus to hear him teach. It always amazes me that only the woman is condemned to death, why not the man who was obviously with her? Wasn’t he just as guilty? What does this tell us about the status of women at that time and even today? Are we willing to arouse awareness and try to help put an end to injustices in society such as human trafficking, abortion, inequality in pay and positions, physical and emotional abuse, etc. etc.?
However, in this gospel, it is interesting to note that the Pharisees and Scribes were really not so interested in condemning this woman. The law could have been carried out anywhere else, but they dragged this poor woman and threw her at the feet of Jesus just to test him. But, as she looked up at him, she saw the love and compassion in his eyes, and knew everything was going to be alright.
Then, Jesus began to write in the sand…..what he was writing, scripture does not tell us. Whatever it was, shocked everyone–the crowd, the woman and the accusers. They never expected that reaction from Jesus, they didn’t think he would have the courage to defend her but he didn’t give them the satisfaction of giving into their trickery.
Jesus then raises his head and says: ”Let anyone among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her”. The tables were turned. Now the crowd has been humiliated, and their hypocrisy exposed, so they hang their heads in shame, drop the stones they were ready to cast, and one by one began to walk away.
Jesus compassionately talks to the woman and tells her that he will not condemn her either. He forgives her but tells her to sin no more. He does not condemn her, but condemns her sin, and she will be forever changed by God’s gift of mercy and forgiveness.
We, too, cannot judge, hurling stones at those whom we think are sinners, for just as Jesus shows mercy, we too must do the same. We are all sinners waiting to be embraced and forgiven by our merciful God.