How is your Lent or Spring coming along for you? Are we growing like the life that sprouts forth at this time of year? Or are we stagnating like a pond, collecting algae on us? We are created to move, and to move forward. And yet, when we have the opportunity to reflect on our lives, we can get stuck or paralyzed. I’ve been with many people who were nearing death and were still stuck in their guilt and regret, either because others couldn’t forgive them or they couldn’t forgive themselves.
We are not meant to be stationary beings. We are meant to move and grow. If you think about it, our very bodies are in constant motion. Our hearts and lungs are always moving. Yet, we can get stuck like the woman in today’s gospel. Jesus is with the woman caught in adultery, who is being condemned by the scribes and Pharisees. The Law dictates her punishment. The scribes and Pharisees see it as an opportunity to test Jesus about the Law. They have trapped her and they want to trap him. He will have no part of it because we are not created for being trapped and made small.
Jesus instead calls them to think and be different. He calls them to growth by having them look at themselves before looking at others (“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”). This is a huge missed opportunity to look honestly at themselves, see their reality, and move into a greater experience of themselves and of life. The story says they went away one by one. I wonder if they might have gone away, each to their own quiet place, and reflected on what just happened. Such a huge opportunity for growth! To not only see more of themselves, but maybe even see more of the woman they were accusing! To let her be more than just her sin! To let themselves be more than just their woundedness and mistakes!
When we find ourselves stuck in terms of what we may think of ourselves or of others, then maybe it’s time to put on our shoes and start moving from the place we are in. Maybe it’s time for us to take that walk with our higher power and ask the question, “Who do you see when you look at me?” “Who do you see when you look at that person?” Jesus may have seen her sin, but he didn’t hold her there. He released her to a future free from her past and her sinfulness. He saw more in her than she saw in herself, and more than what the scribes and Pharisees saw in her. Sometimes, when I have these moments where I am amazed at what Jesus sees, my prayer becomes, “I want to see with your eyes. I desire to see what you see.”