Today’s Gospel is taken from the account of John about A Woman Caught in Adultery. We have a day of recollection together with the Alfano Fraternity (the name of my house) brothers in MAPAC. During our sharing, I pointed out Jesus writing on the ground. What was he writing?
The answer: It doesn’t matter.
The Gospel reminded me of a wounded man hiding inside a Japanese temple.
One day, a wounded man entered inside a temple to hide. Minutes later, two policemen saw an old man at the gate and asked whether he had seen a wounded man.
“Relax, let’s drink a cup of tea. This brew is the best in town,” he told them.
Annoyed, they threatened to kill him if they found out that he’s hiding the wounded man, trying to force their way to search inside.
“If I’m going to die, let me drink my tea first,” the gatekeeper said then sipped some tea.
Then the looked at each other and decided to look somewhere else.
I would like to point out some similarities in these two stories:
- Both Jesus and the old temple keeper handled the issue with equanimity;
- Both the wounded man and the woman have their own circumstances which weren’t even divulged first. The wounded man might have been a bandit or the woman might have been a widow looking for some financial support from some men;
- The scribes and Pharisees will use the stoning of the woman to “have some charge to bring ” against Jesus as part of their ploy to dispose him; the pursuers in the temple threatened to kill the old man;
- Appearing “unconcerned”, Jesus wrote on the ground; the old man sipped some tea.
- Both were resolved peacefully. The scribes and Pharisees walked away; the pursuers of the bandit went somewhere else.
There are lots of details to reflect in the Gospel like how a male-dominated society at that time creates this system of adultery pinning the blame on women and letting men get away with it. I might be mistaken but I heard this is still present in some cultures up until now. This analysis needs some sociocultural perspective and that’s not my forte.
Like the wounded man who might turn out to be a bandit, so the woman might have been just a victim of circumstances. And for Jesus, there was even no need to dwell on the whys of hows. Jesus said to her, go and “sin no more”. What a way to express unconditional love.
I don’t know how the wounded man hiding in the temple ended. I might be just as beautiful as the sending off of the woman. I imagine the old gatekeeper telling his man to also go and live in a decent way of life.