Lectio Divina: 5th Sunday of Lent
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — John 8:7
Today’s Gospel seems like it almost came out of a TV drama. However, unlike most television, this story has a lesson that is eternal. A woman is caught in adultery and taken to Jesus by the Pharisees. These men are all ready to stone her to death, citing the law of Moses. Jesus calls out to the crowd by saying, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Hearing this, all of them drop their stones and leave. Jesus then extends mercy to the woman and invites her to sin no more.
Unfortunately, many of us would be ready (and dare I say, eager) to throw stones at this woman in the name of justice. However, few of us would enjoy being stoned for our own sins. We are often so eager to point out God’s justice when it comes to the brokenness of others but quick to cling to His mercy when it comes to ours. We are called to extend God’s mercy to everyone — not just ourselves. This is not to say that sinning isn’t bad or harmful, as it separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation itself. However, we need to always be ready to share His message of love, mercy, and reconciliation. This is especially important when the other party is someone who doesn’t know Jesus or His Church.
Jesus was the only one (other than Mary, of course) that could theoretically cast a stone at this woman — but He chose not to. Jesus pierced her journey by presenting a new law: one of love. This week, I challenge you to pray for the grace to forgive someone who has wronged you in some way. Invite the Holy Spirit to remove any grudges and to plant grace in your heart. If we do this, we will imitate Jesus in a powerful, life-changing way.
- Who do I see myself as in this Gospel? Do I see myself as a Pharisee? The woman caught in sin? Someone in the crowd?
- Am I eager to pick up a stone or am I ready to extend mercy?
- Do I think Jesus let the woman “off the hook,” or do I believe He genuinely acted mercifully?
- Do I focus more on the sins of other people as some sort of entertainment?
- How can I be like Jesus in this Gospel? How can I extend mercy to those who find themselves ashamed, broken, and/or wounded?