Reflection: 7th April 2019

A Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jn 8: 1-11 ( 

“The first to throw a stone”

John’s Gospel masterfully paints two contrasting scenes.

We can easily visualize the first scene: a screaming angry mob almost gone crazy and each with a stone in hand. They were literally looking for blood. A woman had been caught in an act of adultery. (It took two to commit adultery, but the man had melted away!)  They demanded that religious laws be applied, and that the woman be stoned to death. They tested Jesus: “What do you say?” They were angry men, who in all likelihood were scapegoating – their righteousness was likely to be a veneer for jealousy, feelings of respectability and superiority, desires for revenge, a loathing for certain people or for some segments of society, an interpretation of what “real” religion should be like ….

Has the world really changed very much in two thousand years?

The second scene presents us with Jesus. He had a reputation for associating with and being friends of sinners. He had a meal with Zacchaeus, the sinful tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) and called another tax-collector to be a follower (Matthew 10:3; Luke 5:27-32). He was anointed by a sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) and he dealt with respect with the woman at the well, considered to be a public sinner (John 4: 4-42).

He also treated the accused woman in this story with respect. When he had confronted her accusers, he turned to her and said “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you, go away and don’t sin any more”.

Anger and scapegoating met with respect and forgiveness; no stones were thrown, at least not on that day.

Can I place myself in this story and where do I find myself there?

John Kilcrann C.S.Sp.  – Ordained in 1976, Fr. John has worked in Brazil, Rome and in the U.S. He is currently assigned to Ireland.