“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her”
In the epistle St Paul says that we cannot earn our way to salvation in Christ. He speaks about a righteousness that comes from faith – our trusting ourselves to Christ and his infinite mercy. This trust however, requires a letting go of everything for the sake of Christ and being happy to do so. Paul in rather strong language talks about treating all that is lost as refuse in comparison to being found in Christ.
The woman caught in adultery, (I wonder where the man was?) in today’s gospel finds herself before Christ and certainly unable to claim any righteousness of her own against the accusation of sin. The scribes and Pharisees bring the woman to Jesus to test him. Will he uphold the law of Moses? The justice of the law requires her to be stoned to death – what will Jesus do?
Jesus response is to reveal ‘Behold, I am doing a new thing,’. He confounds the crowd by saying “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Wisdom prevails. Jesus is left alone as the only one who could condemn her. Instead he reveals the heart of the Father by not wanting the death of a sinner, but that they transform their lives and live – “go, and do not sin again” are his final words.
Blessings, Fr. Neil