Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reflection: John 8:1-11

Fifth Sunday of Lent - John 8:1-11

This Gospel from John begins with the words: “Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives”.  However, after a time he left the Mount and went to the temple area.  The people had been waiting for him and when the word spread that Jesus was in the temple, many people gathered around him.

After a time, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus.  They told Jesus: “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery.  Moses commanded that such women should be stoned.  What do you say?”  Naturally they were trying to trap Jesus so they could bring a charge against him.  However, Jesus did not reply to their question.  Rather, he bent down and began to write in the dirt with his finger.  The scribes and Pharisees continued to ask him questions.  Finally Jesus straightened up and said to them: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Then he once again bent over and wrote in the dirt. 

Slowly all of the scribes and Pharisees slithered away from Jesus and the woman.  Were they angry with Jesus for humiliating them?  Were some of them embarrassed or ashamed of what they had done to this woman?  After they all had left, Jesus turned to the woman and said: “Where are your accusers?  Has no one accused you?”  The woman replied, “No one, sir.”  Jesus looked at her lovingly and said: “Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.”

What a great gift Jesus gave to this woman.   While Jesus protected her from being stoned and from possible death, the greatest gift that Jesus gave her was respect.  In that moment, I suspect, the woman’s life was forever changed.   Perhaps she left Jesus knowing that her life would never be the same.  She was forever changed and she had a chance her life.  What a great gift!

Today Jesus gives us the same chance to change our lives!  Jesus will not condemn us for our failings and our sins.  Rather, Jesus will invite us to begin anew.  The gift is that we have the opportunity to begin anew each morning and each moment.  All he asks of us if that we strive to “sin no more.”

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