Theme: THE CHALLENGE OF THROWING THE FIRST STONE (Jn 8:1-11)
By: Fr Livinus Igbodekwe
Homily for Sunday April 3 2022
Everyone is guilty of a sin. The difference lies in the texture and magnitude of one’s sin. While some may be guilty of slight sins, others are of heinous ones. Yet, remember that anyone who breaks the least of the law is guilty of all. Why? Because all sins have one connection – disobedience. So, desist from pointing fingers and gossiping with others, thinking that you are better. You commit your own in secret, catch another in the very act, and bring him/her in the public. Are you not a hypocrite? You may not drag the culprit to the public square or to a court setting, as the Pharisees and Scribes did in this Gospel pericope, but you can do so by gossip. You paint one black by publishing it by words. From one person to another and before you know it, the case is a breaking news in town, and the sinner hides his/her face in shame. When a sin is secret, it is only known by conscience but when it is made public, it becomes a scandal.
The case of the adulterous woman has become a scandal from the hands of the people who made it public. They used the case as an entrapment for Jesus. On whose side will Jesus be in his decision? Will he side with the civil authority who forbids such jungle justice, or will he side with the religious leaders who claim to uphold the Mosaic law? Whichever, Jesus is entrapped. Dragging the woman to the middle of the crowds, placing Jesus as her judge gives a suspending situation which was heightened by Jesus’ silent scribbling on the ground. The crowd and the prosecuting council might have gone murmuring. “What’s he doing?” Jesus lifts his head and says, “Let the sinless throw the first stone.” There is a sudden silence. And Jesus goes down again a-scribbling. The silence is unbearable for all and sundry, for it allows each to reflect by examination of conscience to ascertain if one should win the challenge of being sinless by throwing a stone. The Elders start dropping their stones. Their consciences are their judges, accusing them of their secret sins. They saw themselves as hypocrites would they cast the first stone. When all are gone. Jesus looks up to the woman with love that no mouth could describe. He assures her that neither He, the sinless one, will throw a stone at her. In other words, she is not condemned by God. She still has a chance with God to amend her wayward ways. The strong compassion and strong command may have sent the woman forth with firm resolve to start living a new life. She went off, grateful.
Don’t judge, because you yourself are guilty.
Before you lift a stone, search your soul.
Don’t make one’s sin public, correct him/her privately.
Have a happy Sunday!