St.  John Baptist de la Salle

Jn 8: 1-11

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’

They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

A Life of True Love

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.


Holy God, light in darkness, hope for sinful hearts, forgive my sins. Heal my heart. When I fear that you will walk away because of my many sins, give me the strength you gave to the woman we meet today. Hold me in the arms of your forgiveness. Help me change my life. Amen.