[Jesus] said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn 8:7b)
Today’s Gospel is rather gruesome. An angry crowd confronted Jesus. They had, in their midst, a woman from the community who had been caught in the act of adultery.
They were angry. Angry at the woman, more than likely; but, angry at the Lord as well.
They practically predicted what Jesus would say to them. They knew, in their hearts, that He would tell them to let her go.
They had no intention of doing so. The woman was going to pay. And so, it was presumed, would the Lord. Because, the moment the Lord told them to let her go — in direct contradiction to the law given to them by Moses — they would have Jesus. He would have instructed them to break their law. He would be in big trouble.
This was just the break that many in the crowd wanted.
Ah, but the Lord knew their hearts. And He had a “trap” of His own. “You’re right, that is the law. Sure, go ahead and stone her.”
The crowd couldn’t believe what was being heard.
And then the caveat: “However, let the one among you who has no sin throw the first stone.”
The crowd had acted as judge. They were also ready to act as executioner. However, they had forgotten a very important point. They had forgotten to turn their judgmental eyes inward, to examine their own lives and clean up their acts.
Confronted with their sinfulness they drifted away from the Lord and from the woman whom they intended to stone.
There was no condemnation from the Lord. He was merciful to the woman — as indeed He was merciful to the crowd. To her, he gave forgiveness. To them, he gave insight that could easily lead to their seeking forgiveness which the Lord would surely grant.
FAITH ACTION: Aware that sin touches all of our lives, make an effort to encourage someone today rather than criticize or condemn that person.