Lectio Divina: Jn 8:1-11

And Jesus went unto mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, And said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

The first striking thing about this is the Pharisees. They have no sense of compassion, care, or concern for her. They treat her not as a person, but as an object to get to Jesus.

The morning of this episode, the woman was probably at least conflicted about her sin. She knew it was wrong. She was a Jew, went to synagogue, listened to the law and the prophets. Maybe she wanted to quit sneaking around with her guy, but you know how hard it is to quit sexual sin. While carrying on her affair, she was terrified of being found out and stoned, and finally this day it happened. She was dragged out of bed, half-naked. She thought she would have stones thrown at her til she dies. But she encountered God, and he is Merciful. He doesn't want to condemn us--he delights in our conversion, and wants us to share in his own blessed life. This man she encounters created her personally to share in his very Life. He doesn't want to throw a rock at her head. He doesn't want blood. In fact, he wants to spill his blood for her. He wants his head enclosed in thorns for her. He wants his flesh flayed off his back for her sake. He loves her. He loves her more than her lover loves her. He loves her more than her mom loves her. He knew she was going to choose to fornicate, and still he willed to create her. She would not exist if he did not choose to love her. This man takes no pleasure in the death of the sinner...he did not want, with even an ounce of his being, to stone her.

I think of this episode as an analogy for confession. We go and tell the priest what we did, and he never condemns us. Jesus is ever waiting in the confessional to hear our faults and has zero desire to condemn us. He's in the confessional waiting for us to come to him. He is patient; he lets us repent all the way until our death.

He wants to heal her. This was assuredly a healing moment for her with nothing to hide behind, probably wearing little, and with admission of her helplessness and sinfulness, she came to the Lord as she was. This is how I must approach him: openly admitting my faults, not hiding behind anything; vulnerable to him.
He does give her one heck of a penance: go, and sin no more. But he did give her the grace to do as he commanded. She was finally free of her sin to which her passion had enslaved her, because she encountered the living God.

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