Today’s gospel is about the woman caught in adultery (below). This is the commentary from the Irish Catholics Bishops’ website.
The religious leaders who brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught committing adultery seem to have had a very black and white view of things. As far as they were concerned, they were good and she was bad. Furthermore, the bad needed to be eliminated to protect the good – they reminded Jesus that death by stoning was what the Jewish Law prescribed. Jesus was reluctant to engage these men in conversation at all, but when he did speak, his brief comment cut through their primitive analysis, and showed it up in all its inadequacy, ‘let him who is without sin cast the first stone’. Jesus was reminding them that the sin which they so despised in the woman was alive and well in themselves. When they pointed one finger at her, three fingers were pointing back at themselves. They could not look at her without looking at themselves, and if they looked honestly at themselves their attitude to the woman would have to change. Jesus did not deny that the woman had sinned, but he strongly denied that her sin made her any different from anyone else, including those who were so sure of their own virtue. The gospel reading reminds us that we all come before the Lord as sinners, but it assures us that when we bring our sin to the Lord we will not hear a word of condemnation. Instead we will hear a word of forgiveness and an invitation to something better: ‘I do not condemn you; go away and don’t sin any more’.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie
Gospel John 8:1-11
If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.
The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then be bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and don’t sin any more.’
The Gospel of the Lord.