The story of the woman accused of adultery takes place in the temple area during the Feast of the Tabernacles when Jesus proclaimed himself the light of the world and living water bringing life. His enemies fiercely disputed his claims. Did they introduce the woman to discredit him? Earlier, he said “As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just…” (John 5, 30) Here was a test.
Moses, according to the woman’s accusers, commanded she be stoned. What is his judgment?
From our perspective today adultery–which is still wrong–is not the only issue here.
Gender injustice is also at stake. The woman was treated badly by men. Where is the man in the case?
Then, Jewish religious law said that if a woman were caught in the act of adultery and two men witnessed it, she could be stoned to death or strangled. The system led to abuse, historians say; two witnesses paid by a vengeful husband or a husband who wanted to get rid of his wife, might give false testimony and have her stoned to death.
The Word made flesh brings a lens of justice and mercy to every age and in the temple that day, the woman received life and light from him. Her accusers also were struck by the judgment of Jesus. We believe he offers that same light for knowing what is right and just today to all of us.
From the time of his spiritual conversion as a young man, Paul of the Cross was particularly conscious of God’s grace enabling him to know himself. It made him see himself, his motives, his weaknesses. He called himself “a miracle of God’s infinite mercy.”
“During the day I had a special knowledge of myself. I know that I told my Divine Savior that I could call myself nothing other than a miracle of his infinite mercy.” (Diary, December 28)
let me judge others with your eyes, your heart and your mind.
Help me work for a world that is right and just.
Give me the grace to know myself.