The scribes and Pharisees seemed particularly adept at the human tendency to spot faults and failings—in others. Bringing an adulterous woman into the Temple area, they not only intended to shame her, but also to see whether Jesus would invoke Mosaic law, which called for her stoning.

Yet these mighty and self-righteous leaders could not withstand Jesus’ disarmingly simple response: Go ahead and stone the woman—but only if you yourselves are sinless. They knew they were beaten at their own petty game. Without a hint of condemnation, Jesus treated the woman with a kind of love she had perhaps never before experienced, bidding her to change her ways and pursue a life of true love.

May we who also are pretty good about spotting faults and failings—in others—allow Jesus to disarm and forgive us, and may we resolve to turn from our sinful ways and more ardently pursue the life of true love in him.

—Fr. David Mastrangelo, S.J. is superior of the Taylor St. Jesuit community, Chicago, and director of Mission and Identity at Christ the King Jesuit High School, Chicago.