Meditating on today’s gospel
I followed Jesus as he went to the Mount of Olives, to pray I supposed. Then at daybreak he went up to the temple. I followed him there. People started to come to him. He sat down and began to teach them. I sat down with the crowd listening to him. Then, there was a commotion. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along, whom they claimed to have been caught committing adultery. They brought her to the middle of the crowd where Jesus was, and she was standing there in full view of everybody. I started to feel interested of the situation, as to what would Jesus do to her or to them who accused her. Then I heard one of them saying to Jesus, “‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’
People’s reaction around Jesus and the woman vary. Some nodded. Some seemed to be indifferent. But I just stayed on, really wondering what would Jesus do next. I was really interested on how he would deal with such a great matter for the Jews. But then, I overheard somebody standing behind me whispered something to someone else next to him. “Let’s see if he can get out of this difficult situation. If he doesn’t say a thing about her and her case, then that would be a strong evidence for us to condemn him, for he would not then be acting out the law of Moses.” I realized then that they just brought this case to Jesus to test him, to have something to use against him.
The people began to look uneasy. They couldn’t wait to hear what would Jesus say. I looked at Jesus. He looked at me, straight to the eye. Then I heard him saying to me in the depth of my heart, “I don’t wish to condemn this woman. She is the reason why I came here. I came to forgive her sins, and yours as well, and give new life in you.”
I was struck by that instantaneous silence between me and Jesus. I stooped down, grappling for something I can do or say to the people around, about what Jesus wishes for her. But I did not have the courage. Then Jesus bent down. I saw him writing something on the ground with his finger. The people became upset, for Jesus did not say a thing to support their claim. So they kept asking him, “Master, what is your verdict to this adulterous woman?” I looked at the woman as the scribes and Pharisees pointed their finger at her. She didn’t look up. I noticed that though she’s stooping down, she was shedding tears, tears of maybe guilt or shame, I am not sure. Then Jesus stopped scribbling on the ground, he looked up to everyone around. What amazed me was that, it seemed it’s just an instant, but he looked at everyone, straight to the eyes, with the most gentle and compassionate look. I was dumbstruck. He was speaking to me again in the depths of my heart. “I am sorry not for this woman, but I am sorry for you.” I took the opportunity of asking him in the depth of my heart, “What do you mean Lord?” “With penetrating look, he said to me, “I am sorry that you are caught up with your self-righteousness, self-centeredness, pride and arrogance and sins. And you failed to see THIS woman as your sister, or mother, or grandmother, or aunt, or girlfriend.” I felt so much shame and guilt that I wanted to leave the scene immediately.
Then after looking at everyone with a loving look, he finally said to the hearing of everyone. ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then be bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. I also left with the crowd, but from the depth of my heart, I heard him saying to the woman, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’