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 any more.”
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God…
Reflection by Br. Francis Eells, FSC
In re-reading this Gospel, I am caught between two topics.
The first is that Jesus does not ask: “Where’s the guy?” I know I have heard this said before, but in this “me too” moment it is worth taking more than a moment to see how easy it is for us to overlook the double standards of life. Ironically, John has Jesus noticing the double standard of the scribes and Pharisees who publicly want to punish this person for sinning while hiding their own indiscretions. And this is a major lesson for us.
The second is the last line: “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” I believe what Jesus is saying is that for the Kingdom of God to be realized, we have to police ourselves. It’s easy to say don’t judge me, or you don’t know me. I am careful about casting aspersions because I know I am no saint. What efforts, though, am I making to be that saint that the Kingdom needs me to be? What efforts am I making to acknowledge double standards that may benefit me and the comfort of my life?
That is the beauty of Lent: it gives us a concentrated time to make good on what we are capable of being. And if we can do it for forty days, maybe we can do it all year long.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us!
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!
Brother Francis, closing in on 30 years as part of the Institute, has spent most of his teaching career in Pennsylvania. In 2002, Br. Francis would move to Washington DC however, to help establish the San Miguel School of Washington, acting as the San Miguel School’s first Principal for a decade. Now the Director of the District’s Vocation efforts, Br. Francis travels to the ministries of DENA and beyond promoting the Brothers’ vocation, inviting young people to take a deeper look at the work God is calling them to, and inviting young men to see the Christian Brothers as an answer to God’s call.