John 8: 1-11
They dragged her unto the street like a criminal hurling curses at her. Women and children stare at her with shame and disgust as men pushed her on all sides clenching their fists and ready to beat her to pulp. All she is to them is an adulterer, not a woman, not a person, not a child. She is all alone now. Who would plead her cause? Who would stand up for her? Her secret sin, her secret sickness, her deadly ordeal is now an entertainment, a test and a trap for a rabbi whom they can no longer stand because of their self-righteousness. Now she is all alone waiting for the stones of hypocrisy and hatred to fall on her. To them she is and should be condemned to death; there is no more hope for her. Her mother is far away covering her face in shame and pain; her father has disowned her and is lost in the crowd; her husband wants to be first to cast his stones at her and her lover is nowhere to be found. She covers her face waiting for the master’s verdict as they pronounced her crime to him. According to the Law of Moses she must die for she was caught in the very act of adultery. What do you say? As fear and despair embrace and strangle her, she heard the master’s voice, as he continues to write on the ground, “If any of you is without sin, he should cast the first stone.” There was silence in the crowd as stones began to drop and feet began to move. She looked up and caught the master’s gaze and in his eyes there were no condemnation or judgement only love. She felt new in his gaze. She felt like a child in his gaze. She saw that even when she had given up hope in herself, he had not stopped believing in her. And then she heard the master’s voice. “Daughter has no one condemned you yet”? “No one Lord”, she gasped. Neither will I condemn you, go and sin no more. Go? She must have cried to herself. She must have been lost in words and thoughts as she tried to understand what just happened. Trembling with an experience of love that is beyond words, she looked up and the Master was no longer there. She ran to where he was and broke down in tears as she saw what he wrote on the ground. It was her name.
This gospel of today is the reason why St. Paul claims that he considers all things as loss or rubbish because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus. Who would not want to know a Lord that loves us this much? Who would not want to know a Lord that never gives up on us? Who would not want to know a Lord that is never tired of saving and loving us? Sometimes we pick up stones in condemnation on others even on ourselves. Today the Lord shows us that no one is unlovable or unforgiveable. Are there some unlovables and some unforgiveables in our lives? This is the time to drop those stones. Let those that are struggling to find their way back home see in our eyes, not condemnation or judgement, but love. Remember that sometimes these people can also be us.
May God bless us as he writes our names on the palms of His hands!