Maria Kozakiewicz

WORD MADE FLESH

Fifth Sunday in Lent – March 13, 2016
Isaiah 43.16-21 | Psalm 126 | Philippians 3.8-14 | John 8.1-11
March 7, 2016

Today's Gospel enriches us with one of the best known - and most misused - messages of Christianity: "Do not judge others. You are not sinless yourself." I have had it thrown in my face in countless discussions on hot moral topics.

I must not speak against euthanasia or those who promote it because I am throwing stones at them. I must not speak against abortion and abortion providers because that means I judge them and "Christianity forbids judging."

Jesus' words "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" are used as a gag, even by well-meaning people and devout churchgoers.

Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. - John 8.4

'Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.'

John 8.4

We are all sinners. Does it mean we should shut up when God's commandments are publicly broken and whole societies go astray?

This scene of Jesus confronting the Pharisees must be seen in context. Then we must try to understand the spirit of the message and how it applies today.

Jesus wanted to meet that woman - that is why he was in the Temple area that was open to Gentiles and sinners. What does this tell us now? Jesus does not want to be closed in churches. Don't keep him out of daily life.

The Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in adultery and asked what to do with her. The woman was guilty, and the Law of Moses has such women stoned to death.

The Pharisees do not care about justice or that each sin offends God's holiness. They care even less about the woman.

They use the woman's sin to further their agenda which is to trap Jesus and have him condemned to death. "They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him."

The Pharisees sin more horribly than the poor adulteress did. They know God better than an average person because of their religious knowledge, but they have no love. In their pride, the Pharisees do not see themselves as sinners.

We sin as they did, too, if we get carried away by our egos, or make "a cause" of say, the anti-abortion movement while having no compassion and love for those involved in abortion.

It is easy to feel "sinless" when we deal with those who break God's commandments in a spectacular way. I test the level of my "phariseeism" by occasional reading of The Daily Mail online. Without fail, reading about the sexual transgressions of celebrities brings out the Pharisee in me.

The Pharisee's attitude is present in most of us (save saints), and must be constantly battled. Humbly read what Jesus writes on the ground for us as he did for those hard, calculating men surrounding him. "Do you remember when . . .? Are you any different than this woman or man you criticize? Can't you show some compassion? And yet I always love you."