Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 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. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Our Family takes vacations in Northern Michigan in the U.S. every Summer and it’s just a God-Inspired experience each and every time that we go. One of the things that we like to do is “skimming” stones across the surface of Lake Michigan (when the water’s calm). We pick-up smooth, “flatter” stones and see how many skips across the surface we can get before the stone finds its new home somewhere at the bottom of the water. At times, it even becomes a fun contest amongst our group to see who can get the most skips before the stone is gone from sight. Almost every time (without fail), somebody will accidentally get hit by one of the stones that gets tossed. And, when that happens, it sure does hurt… So, can we even imagine what it means or what it would be like to be stoned to death? While it seems that it was pretty common in Jesus’ day (e.g. St. Stephen), you just don’t hear about it much in our day. And that’s because it is a horrible way to die and nobody deserves to die like this – even a sinner. And, therein lies the “irony”…’even a sinner’. Jesus’ is quick to remind us that all of us (including the adulterous woman who the Pharisees wanted to stone to death) are sinners. While judging situations is an everyday part of life, our Eternal Judgement is up to God and Him alone. Rebuttals about “righteous killing” our constantly brought-up as the antithesis to letting God determine someone’s Eternal Judgement (e.g. in war, in self-defense, in court, etc.). But that’s not Jesus’ point in the Gospel. He is simply moving past the sin to focus on the Salvation. You see, most of us refuse to see past our own sins and/or the sins of others. We cast stones of judgement at ourselves and those around us in a flurry not unlike what me and my Family do each Summer on Lake Michigan. Jesus Promises us that it’s not supposed to be that way – He is not looking to cast stones at us…He is simply asking us to repent of our sins and to not to do them anymore. So, whatever our sin is and other people’s sins are (and no matter how long we’ve been holding on to them), it’s time to loosen our grip and to drop the stones from our hands and walk away. Jesus sees us like He did the woman caught in adultery – as one of His Lambs that has simply gone astray, but that He, like the Prodigal Son’s Father, eagerly welcomes back into His Flock. All we have to do is repent and “not sin any more”.