Faith Daily | 4 April 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 490
We thank you, heavenly Father,
that you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
we pray that
as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us
to joys eternal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 8: 2-11
2Early in the morning Jesus came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Jane Markotsis
Today’s Gospel is Jesus’ encounter with the woman who had been caught in adultery. He was teaching in the temple area when the Pharisees come to him, bringing a woman who had been caught in adultery. They placed the woman right in the middle of the crowd. Imagine how this woman felt. What are the emotions you would experience if someone brought you to where there was a crowd of people and then they told these people about all the wrongs you had done? I assume most of us would be humiliated, angry and perhaps afraid!
The Pharisees begin by quoting the law to Jesus (as if Jesus did not know the law). They tell him that the law of Moses said that any woman should be stoned to death for her adultery. (Note: the stoning did not apply to the man who also had committed adultery.) The only person to be stoned would be the woman.
The Pharisees want to hear what Jesus thinks her punishment should be. Of course, they were only testing Jesus. They hoped to find cause in his response that then would give cause to arrest him. This was the sole purpose of their encounter with Jesus. However, Jesus realized that the Pharisees simply were trying to trap him. He knew that if he deviated from the Law of Moses, they would charge him and most likely arrest him.
Jesus chooses an unusual course of action. He simply bends over and begins to write in the dirt. His action took the Pharisees by surprise. This was no answer! So, they continue to ask Jesus the same question. Finally, Jesus responds by simply telling the Pharisees that whoever was without sin, should throw the first stone at the woman. And one by one, the Pharisees slipped away! Did they experience any shame about what they had done to this woman?
Jesus quietly asks the woman where everyone had gone. Had anyone condemned her? This woman must have been astounded that someone, a man, had stood up for her. She knew she had sinned, yet this man, Jesus, had protected her from the Pharisees. Then the woman responded to Jesus’ question simply by saying: No one had ever done anything like this for her in her lifetime!
What a life-changing moment this must have been for this woman! Did she now have the sense that she was worth something after all?
Do we trust Jesus to be as deeply compassionate and forgiving with us, as he was with this woman? Our sins may not be quite as serious as this woman’s was. Or perhaps they are! Regardless, do we trust that Jesus loves us and will forgive us, no matter how greatly we have sinned? If not, I invite you to focus on the compassion and understanding that Jesus exemplifies in the Gospel reading. Jesus has deep compassion and love for us also----no matter what we have done or how we have sinned!
Do we truly trust Jesus and his word? If not, may we pray for the grace to open our hearts to Jesus and receive his love and forgiveness! He is waiting for us!
Gracious God, thank you for your gift of forgiveness and for forgiving me, even though I don’t deserve it. Help me to treat others as you would treat them, with grace, kindness and unconditional love. Remove from me all judgmental tendencies and help me to live by your word. Amen.