Monday of the Fifth Week
The Gospel reading today is the story of the adulterous woman. In a single, subtle line in the reading, Jesus “bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.” In Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, Jesus slowly and dramatically moves His hand and though we see the dust clouds kicking up and hear the sound of crumbling sand, we cannot make out what He writes. A great mystery exists here: What was Jesus writing? Guesses have been made but we can never know for sure, and I think that this points to an important truth about our God—He is beyond our total understanding.
The Pharisees brought the adulterous woman to Jesus, thinking that if in fact He was a God-fearing rabbi, He would condemn the woman according to the Law of Moses. We often think we know the mind of God, so much that we condemn others. But we are taught not to judge others, that God is our only Judge. The first reading stresses this when Susanna is falsely accused of adultery. She says, “it is better for me to fall into your [the accuser’s] power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.” Without judging others and ourselves, how do we encourage improvement? Love, not judgment, improves us. Love gives us a second chance: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
In the last part of the scene in Gibson’s film, the adulterous woman, on the ground, reaches for Jesus’s feet. Instead of stoning her, as the Pharisees suggested, Jesus offers her His hand—she takes it—and He lifts her up.
God, forgive us for the times we have quickly judged others. Aid us in remembering Your words, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Help us to see You in others, and to understand that You alone are our Judge. Let us be able to accept Your Love and allow it to transform us into better daughters and sons of God. Amen.
Katie McNally, ‘14
First Reading: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Gospel: John 8:12-20
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website