Before Judging Others, Look At Yourself!

Weekly Missionary Reflection
5th Week of Lent, 03 April 2022

Isa. 43:16-21; Ps. 126:1-2b,2c-3,4-5,6; Phil. 3:8-14; John 8:1-11

No chance to escape, for a criminal caught on the spot!. The woman in today’s Gospel could be in such situation. She was caught on the spot committing adultery. She might be married or engaged to a man. Her sin had put her husband and the whole family in shame. According to the Law, this woman should be stoned to death. A lot of witnesses, her mistake was clear, no defender. The prosecutors were scribes and top religious people. No mercy to the accused. She was completely alone: a woman among the furious men. This accused woman was about to be utilized to test Jesus. If Jesus refused to condemn her, He was against the Jewish Law. Accepting the stoning, He would definitely deal with the Roman invaders who forbade the Jews to execute death sentence.

But they were totally wrong. Jesus was not trapped in their trick. For Jesus, the law is about justice, not just procedure and formulation. From the beginning, the case was unfair. Why did they only arrest and judge the woman? Where was the man, “her partner in sin”? Did not the Law (Lev. 20:10) say that both the adulterer and adulteress shall be put to death? This case only looked clear in appearance, but actually, it was not transparent at all!. The evidence was there, but it was not complete. Those Law practitioners did not mean to fight for justice. In fact, they were utilizing this case. They just used the woman to “test” Jesus (v. 6).

Jesus didn’t want to get into the Law area. He did not reject the Law, yet He did not expose and criticize their evil intention too. He just invited them to ask themselves: whether they ever broke the Law. The one without sin to be the first to throw a stone at her. This invitation to introspection was effective. The punishment was not affected. They went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So Jesus was left alone with the woman. Indeed, Jesus was the only one without sin. He was the only one who deserved to punish the woman. Nevertheless, despite His right for condemning her, He offered her a second chance. He didn’t say the woman was innocent. He was firm with her: “from now on do not sin anymore!” For Jesus, love and forgiveness are more effective than death sentence. Love and forgiveness will move the sinner to repent. Such Divine optimism is not easy to comprehend: Sin is diminished because the sinner is loved.

Jesus certainly did not mean to repeal all trial and punishment. This story should not be taken literally as there is no innocent judge. Law and court must still exist. Jesus just wants to move your and my heart: look at yourself before judging others! Share more love instead of condemning.  Love the sinners, hate their sin, as He speaks to each of us today : “Neither do I condemn you… Go and from now on do not sin anymore!

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church this month:

For Universal Churches: Health workers
We pray for the health workers who take care of the sick and elder, especially those in poor countries; may they have sufficient support from the government and the local community.

For Indonesian Churches intention: Behave towards consumerism
We pray that we can stay modest and be not tempted to possess unnecessary things in the midst of the wave of consumerism that dictates the world.

Amen

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