John 8:1-11, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
When someone is doodling, he’s either bored to death or waiting for something or someone to come. When the Pharisees and angry crowd brought a prostitute to Jesus to be stoned to death as prescribed by the law, Jesus simply doodled something in the ground.
For two reasons: Jesus was bored to death of the Pharisees never-ending attitude of fault-finding. Second, he was giving time to the Pharisees and angry crowd to rethink what they were planning – killing someone.
Jesus wanted them to look at the women in different perspective – as a sinner deserving a second chance, and not as a sinner that deserves to be punished. Jesus wanted them to look at the guilty woman through the lens of love, and not through the lens of condemnation and hatred. His doodling moments were for them to rethink and see the hidden goodness of the prostitute.
Jesus knew the legality of the law. He knew that the women was indeed guilty and deserved capital punishment. The Pharisees were right in condemning her. The law of Moses validated their action, but their hearts were closed to the call of Jesus to give a second chance. The Pharisees and the crowd were simply being ruled by anger, resentment and vengeance. And not justice.
Yet, no one dared to throw the first stone when Jesus said, “Those who do not have sins may throw the first stone.” For everybody was guilty of sinning against God.
Jesus did not condemned the guilty woman. He gave her the second chance. He forgave her sins. For Jesus could see something beautiful inside her – and he wanted to save her. So he said, “Nor do I condemn you. You may go but sin no more.”
In our present time where the death penalty is being debated, the Church is against it for many reasons. After my chaplaincy with the death row convicts in New Bilibid Prison, here are my top three: First, not all convicts are guilty of committing grave and heinous crime. A good number of them are innocent. It is not fair to execute someone without due process. Sad to say, our judicial system has lots of flaws. Second, even if the inmate is guilty of heinous crime, we need to rethink our decision to allow death penalty. Jesus forgave the women who deserves capital punishment. It’s crystal clear. All sinners deserve a second chance to reform their livesThird, we are all sinners.
This lenten season, abstain and stop from our habit of fault-finding. Yes, you are correct. They committed a grave mistake against you. They deserve your punishment, anger and vengeance. But what lens are we using in our anger? Are you totally faultless? Is all the blame in them? Let’s doodle for a while and think: What’s my fault in our problem today? Am I doing something to fix it? Am I acting like a Pharisee?
Let’s give a second look to people who have offended us. Let’s give them a second chance. For giving them another chance is also giving yourself and your family another chance to be fully happy.
Jesus wants us to be like him – ever gentle and merciful. He wants us to give a second chance to those who have sinned against us. Let’s wear the lens of compassion, and not the lens of condemnation. For in the end, like the Pharisees and angry crowd, and like the prostitute, we are also sinners. Guilty in front of God.