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5th Sunday of Lent – Casting Stones

“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 any more’” (John 8:7-11).
Some of the scribes and Pharisees were resentful of Jesus’ popularity and wanted to catch him in violation or contradiction to the law. They tried to set him up by bringing him a “woman caught in adultery.” The traditional laws were unequivocal—death by stoning was required. The crowd expected nothing less than a public display of capital punishment. Jesus’ response was to “draw in the sand” and then challenge them to show mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus let the woman go. She was offered a second chance, a fresh start. Imagine how she must have felt. Imagine, too, how the members of the crowd may have felt when they realized that they, too, had made mistakes for which others might condemn them.
Our sins are all around us. Others see what we do not see. The challenge is to remain mindful of our own vulnerabilities and be aware of our own inclination to sin. We all share humanness with the ones we judge. If we cultivate compassion and forgiveness toward ourselves, are we not less likely to pick up a stone and throw it?
Have you ever forgiven someone who hurt you? How did you feel after doing it?

Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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