Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They 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. When 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.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Allowing Jesus to Forgive
This Gospel story from John is perfect for an Ignatian contemplation. Imagine the scene, see the characters, hear the sounds. Place yourself in this scene and be one of the characters. Perhaps you are the woman, or Jesus, or even one of the accusers.
Sometimes we view sexual sins as the worst possible sin. But Jesus treats this sin like all others. He forgives with tremendous mercy. Jesus treats men and women equally—a shock for the Jewish culture of that time.
Are we willing to look Jesus in the eye and let him forgive us? Do we sometimes find it easier to judge others without looking truthfully at ourselves?
—Fr. Paul Macke, SJ, is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio. He co-leads a Spiritual Direction Training Program for the Cincinnati Region.
Lord Jesus, help me be grateful for my
sins because they are carriers of grace.
—Written by Fr. Paul Macke, SJ, inspired by Anthony de Mello, SJ