March 17, 2013: 5th Sunday of Lent
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.” (John 8:1-11)
Throughout this season of Lent we are often reminded of our need to forgive and be forgiven. Today’s gospel vividly contrasts how different persons respond to this challenge. First we see the scribes and Pharisees (never friendly toward Jesus). Right away they blame the sinful woman and move cruelly to punish her. How different Jesus is! He quietly reminds the men that they too are in need of forgiveness; then he speaks lovingly to the sinful woman, assuring her he does not condemn her.
How do I respond to my different friends and neighbors? Am I quick to find fault and criticize them — or do I show them kindness even when I don’t agree with them?