“But mercy is above the sceptered sway…It is enthroned in the heart of kings. It is an attribute of God himself” (Merchant of Venice (IV.1.191-193)

The gospel relates the story of an adulterous woman brought before the Pharisees who are ready to condemn her to death – for such is the law. It is here that Jesus intervenes with his response of empathy and mercy…”Let one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”.

Surely all of us can see ourselves in the role of the woman who has sinned. Much like the woman in the gospel, we hope that “mercy seasons justice” when we examine our failings, immorality, mistakes, and sin. Yet, how often do we play the role of the Pharisees? Do we judge and condemn others who don’t live up to our expectations? Do we carry grudges that inform and support our mistaken sense of pride? Do we throw metaphorical stones at those who are different than us?

Jesus understands our actions and bids us to stop – it’s actually that simple.

—Dr. Jane Delaney teaches English at St. Ignatius College Prep, Chicago IL.  She also moderates the school newspaper and loves the Ignatian Examen.