Day 34: Let the One Among You

BY JOE HOOVER, S.J. | March 23, 2015
Today’s Readings

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Plastic bags, bottles and other trash entangled in spent fishing nets litter the potentially beautiful Jimbaran beach on the island of Bali, Indonesia. This is a popular sunset-viewing spot for tourists, but it is also a working-class beach, with local fishing boats setting out to make a living every night.

Jesus is a man. He does things a man does. He speaks up, he defends, he is courageous. He is not a boy, hiding behind apron skirts.

He is not a boy, shrinking from conflict, nervously looking around for someone else to deal with his troubles. Jesus Christ is not a boy but a man.

(Were Christ female, switch man for woman and boy for girl and you could say the same things.)

In today’s gospel, Jesus defends a terrified woman from stoning. He annihilates hypocrisy and bloodlust with a few simple words: “Let the one among you….” It is a statement for the ages. The passage is one of the most incendiary moments in the gospels. It is stunning. If this does not make someone fall for Christ, I am not sure what else will.

We too are called to stand up for, to defend, to act with courage. For other people, yes. But also for the very earth around us. Creation needs people who wield truth and love to advocate on its behalf. “Let the one among you who doesn’t need clean water be the first to risk poisoning the water table.” Sometimes, just the right words can change everything.

Reflection Questions:

  • What are creative ways I can advocate for the earth?
  • When studying or debating ecological issues, how can I better understand and give a fair chance to arguments I disagree with?
  • What work of art–music, film, literature, etc–inspires me to work on behalf of justice? Can it continue to do so?

Joe Hoover is a Jesuit brother writing and acting in New York. He also works at St. Ignatius Grammar School and America magazine.

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