Day 34: Setting Down the Stones

BY JOSHUA UTTER | March 18th, 2024
Today’s readings

During a recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, looking towards the border wall from the Mexican side in Ciudad Juárez, I stood transfixed as I noticed item after item left behind by those who managed to reach this climactic part of their journey to safety – a child’s shoe filled with dirt, toothpaste tubes scattered along the shores of the Rio Grande, sweaters and t-shirts caught in the barbed wire on the U.S side. As I took in the scene, I wondered about the fates of those who reached the U.S. Were they cold from crossing through the water? Did they have to throw away any family heirlooms as they were inspected? Have they been detained? Were they able to reunite with family members? Are they somewhere safe?

I wish I could have brought others from across the U.S. to witness this scene. As much of the public discourse is currently centered around immigration, individuals quickly pick up stones and throw them without understanding the full story of those arriving at our border. Accusations of heinous crimes are made, and dehumanizing labels are given to make it easier to throw the stones. 

Photo of a portion of the southern border wall provided by the author.

The violent action of throwing stones is rooted in fear, fomented by leaders who want to cover up their own failures and misdeeds. For those in power, it is easier to cast blame on the innocent and condemn them to death, instead of recognizing their own transgressions. 

Christ has a refreshing take on throwing stones in today’s gospel when the scribes and Pharisees test him with a woman they believe needs punishment. Instead of giving into their political games, he proposes a response rooted in mercy, in recognition of our shared and flawed humanity. 

Instead of throwing stones, may we respond to his invitation and examine our own conscience and recognize our limitations, as well as what inspires us and gives us life. The stones are less easy to pick up when we realize that they are directed at people who value life and freedom, just like us.

2 replies
  1. Susan Fox
    Susan Fox says:

    I agree. I am so tired of the de-humanizing and labeling of immigrants as if they are making this trek for fun or to come here to ruin the US

  2. Graciella Napoles
    Graciella Napoles says:

    Thank you for highlighting the plight of the new immigrants. Thanks for your thoughfulness and compassion. I just wish there were more people who think like you.


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