Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Woman Caught in the Very Act of Adultery brought to Jesus

Let us drop our throwing stones of judgment 
and help lift up our brothers and sisters.

In today’s gospel, who is really on trial? Is it the woman? Is it Jesus? Not really. It is the men who have brought the woman to him. They fear the message of Jesus that in order to be close to God we must love the loveless and the poor. These men feared change and Jesus’ call for justice for the oppressed.

These fearful men are ready to kill a fellow human being because they were threatened with Jesus’ authority – a humble invisible authority that served the least and vulnerable. The Scribes and Pharisees’ understanding of authority was one of dominating others by their use of power.

Any person, religious figure, or institution can easily get caught up in the love of law and power rather than the law of love and mercy.

Jesus had respect for the law, but greater yet was his love for sinful human beings. The mercy and compassion of God is greater than the limits of the law.

In order to love we must be willing to open our hands in service to our neighbor.

And this means we have to have our hands free, not clutching at stones.

So what stones of judgment do we carry around? What labels do we throw at others? 

[I brought out a basket of stones with labels on each one]
Gay, Geek, Black, Mexican, Spic, Beaner, illegal, welfare trash, Retard, Blonde, Pansy, Kentuckian, Waste of flesh,  lazy, loser, Trailer-trash, Red-neck, Snob, Kraut, Cracker, Worthless, ugly, Stupid, deaf, bad, Half-breed, Oreo, Fag, Jew, Dago, Towel head, wetback, Gringo, mental, cripple, short, bad parent, problem child, trouble maker, white trash, welfare mom, liberal, conservative, old timer, old fogie, or teenage hoodlum.

We’re really good at seeing other people’s sins or faults rather than our own, aren’t we?

But every word or label we hurl at another is just as deadly as an actual throwing stone.

We can either use our time and energy to throw stones at others we don’t like and those who are different than us, or we can use our time and energy to help them and those in need.

“Often when we judge others it is because we do NOT want to accept the truth of our own brokenness, our own woundedness, our own sinfulness? And in our inability to forgive ourselves, we clutch at our sins and in our anger or depression we want to throw stones at others.

But really we often project onto others what we refuse to see in ourselves, for we hate in others what we despise in ourselves.

Pope Francis reminds us that: "Only someone who has encountered [and experienced] the tenderness of mercy, is capable of showing mercy...

“He who encounters Jesus Christ feels the impulse to witness Him or to give witness of what he has encountered, and this is the Christian calling: to go and give witness.

“You can't convince anybody. There has to be an encounter with Christ. This is pure grace. Pure grace…grace always comes first, then comes all the rest.”

Until we are convinced that all our gifts of time, talent, and treasure are gifts from God, we will likely not be willing to share very much with others.

The mission of the Church is to go forth and lift up the poor, the stranger, those who feel as if they have reached the end of their strength, and have no purpose to live any longer, feeling friendless and all alone.

And do you know how the Lord often answers the prayers of the poor? Through the generosity of our outstretched hands!

But we can clutch at our stones or we can drop our stones and reach out. 

God will not be outdone in generosity. He who took five loaves and two fish and fed five thousand can take our humblest offering and multiply it beyond our dreams.

We are called to be ambassadors of Christ and that means you and I are called to go where Christ went and continues to go!

Some of us may not physically or emotionally be able to go where the neediest among us live, but we can make a difference. And together we are a better church.

As Pope Francis has said: "Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your lives.” If you follow Christ, you understand that you are to build up other people’s dignity.” Let us lift up others instead.

So rather than clenching our stones of judgment or hoarding our riches and wealth, we have the blessed opportunity to share in the divinity of Christ though our willingness to build up the kingdom of God in our midst!

The only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

So let us drop our throwing stones of judgment and help lift up our brothers and sisters.

(Examine the rock…looks as if he wants to throw it…raises it…look at the stone…slowly lowers his arm…looks at the stone and looks up at the crucifix then drops the rock and walks away).

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