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“Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir.”
Gospel Reflection for March 27, 2023
“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.’” (John 8:3-11 NABRE)
Jesus came into the world to bring us freedom from the slavery of sin. According to the Law of Moses, the woman in today’s Gospel deserved to be stoned to death for committing the sin of adultery. When the Pharisees brought the woman before Jesus in order to test Him, however, Jesus did not say that she should be stoned. Rather, He redirected everyone’s attention off of the woman and placed the spot light on each individual by asking for a person without sin to throw the first stone.
Jesus forced the Pharisees to look not at the woman’s sins, but to analyze themselves and to look into their own hearts. When everyone walked away, Jesus was left alone with the woman. Imagine how safe and protected she felt in the presence of the Lord, Who saved her from death!
Jesus then asks the woman a rhetorical question, as if asking a child, “has no one condemned you?” And like a child, probably still feeling scared but hopeful, the woman responds with, “no one, sir.” Like a father, with love and reassurance, Jesus says to this child of His that He does not condemn her either, and he tells her to sin no more.
By telling the woman to sin no more, Jesus makes it clear that what the woman did was definitely wrong. However, He freed her from the bonds of her sins, and by forgiving her, He gave her a second chance.
When we feel tempted to judge others for their sins, we must look in our own hearts and remember that we are not without sin either. Like Jesus, we must show others love and mercy by forgiving them and allowing them to try again. Just think about how many second chances Jesus has given you—may we do the same for others. And just like the woman, when you feel judged by others, know that Jesus will defend you.