As I picture the exchange between Jesus and his accusers, I draw parallels to when the Pharisees questioned Jesus about stoning the woman caught in adultery. Both scenes contain a group of accusers looking to work within the law and within a socially accepted form of punishment. Jesus makes both groups go beyond the law—he forces them to have an encounter with the integrity of their own faith, their sins, and their humanity.
Today’s Gospel scene made me feel weary because such denunciation still continues.
My Latino brothers and sisters are ripped from their families and deported.
Black Lives Matter is labeled a terrorist group.
Police brutality continues.
A woman’s testimony of sexual harassment or abuse can be dismissed because there is not “enough evidence.”
Great indignation is displayed towards those who call for more common sense gun laws.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is left alone to face his accusers. They even try to arrest him, but he “escapes from their power.” There is no mention of assistance from anyone else.
In the case of the woman caught in adultery, she is not left alone. Jesus steps in and confronts the law, confronts the socially accepted form of punishment. The woman’s accusers walk away one by one.
So—when reflecting upon both scenes——It is strengthened because our breaking forth is too powerful to be “arrested.” Our breaking forth includes institutions, organizations, groups, and individuals who challenge laws and policies that hurl rocks of judgment, ridicule, hate, and ultimately death.
Our breaking forth is a testament to the world that “in my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”
- Who are the people that our society is ready to “denounce” and are watching for any “missteps?”
- What are the laws and policies that hold our society in a place of deep contempt?
- What are the laws and policies that create such a sense of fear that we say: “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him”?
Justin T. White is a theology teacher at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.