All I have to say is, “Duck!” There are a lot of stones flying around in our world today. People love to cast stones at others and it is a common practice in our day to see people accused, tried and condemned in the court of private and public opinion without there being any objective evidence to support the claim. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for their misery. It is certainly easier for folks these days to pick up a stone than it is to pick up a mirror. We certainly don’t want to consider our own faults or whether we might bear some responsibility in a certain matter. If we are unhappy about something then there must be something wrong with someone else out there and we are more than eager to point out who and why.
In our justice system there is an appeal to reason and rational debate. People have to present evidence and a case has to be made for any argument. However, in the court of opinion, we don’t want to be bothered with something as pedantic as reason and rational thought. We just want to appeal to emotions and get people riled up about something. Once people are good and agitated then the stones can start to fly. Don’t bother folks about the facts, we just want to have our say and find someone to whom we can assign blame. Once blame is firmly in place then we can in a wholesale way reject everything about the person. “Let me tell you what’s wrong with…” Just fill in the blanks and now we have an expose in which we can uncover the naked half-truth. Folks might think that this person is a good person but we’re here to tell you different. No one escapes the daggers of malicious gossip and slander. Even God himself is subject to more than a little suspicion and accusation in our world today. If you think that God is good then there is no shortage of people who are eager to tell you otherwise.
Our Holy Father is constantly under attack from many elements within society and in the Church. He has to bear the brunt of much of the anger involved in issues today. Our holy mother Church is also the object of much scorn and blame in the world today. God himself is constantly being blamed for everything that is wrong in our world because he is not intervening to stop it. We love to point the finger and then wag it in shame at others to make ourselves feel somehow superior and self-justified.
In the gospel of John, a woman who is caught in adultery is dragged before Jesus. It is a dire moment for this young woman and she is caught up as a pawn in the struggle of the scribes and Pharisees to find something of which to accuse Jesus. It is not really about the woman or her adultery. The men are just trying to get to Jesus and find something wrong with him so that they can destroy him. Who knows what the woman was doing when they seized her. We always assume that there was some sexual liaison going on but it could have been something as simple as being out in public without an escort or beingalone in the presence of a married man. If there was a liaison then where is the man in this scenario. He too would have been liable to death for this indiscretion. Jesus recognizes what’s going on here and doesn’t fall into their trap. “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus holds up the mirror for all of the accusers to see their own flaws and sins and what they see is not pretty.
Now today that might be a risky move. Most people think that they are without sin. As our Holy Fathers have been pointing out, there is a lessening of the sense of sin among people today. People have justified their sinful ways with excuses and whitewash. More stones are flying these days because people don’t have a healthy awareness of their own faults. This Lenten season is a time to take account of our sins and patterns of sin in our lives. With humility we bring our sins to the Lord, not a scapegoat that we have projected our sins onto, but a truthful sense of conversion and true contrition. Our parish reconciliation service is coming soon, it is a great opportunity to look into the mirror and allow God to do something “new” in our lives. It is our time to hear the Lord say to us, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”