Posted: 30 Mar 2009 12:00 AM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)
Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62 / Jn 8:1-11
As a father was putting his six-year-old to bed, he tapped the little boy’s chest, "Do you know what you have in there?" he asked.
"My guts?" responded the child.
"No," said the dad, "You have a piece of God in there. It’s God’s gift and it’s inside all of us."
"Do you have a piece of God in your heart?" asked boy.
"What about mommy, does she have a piece of God?"
"She does, too."
Then dad reminded his son of Mildred, a truly rotten kid in his kindergarten class. "Even Mildred has a piece of God."
This stunned the boy, "No, not Mildred!" When his father insisted, the boy said, "Daddy, I know her better than you do. She doesn’t have a piece of God!" But dad insisted, till finally the boy gave in, shaking his head, "Well, her piece must be all covered up with junk!"
+ + +
All covered up with junk! That’s often the case. But Jesus could always see through the junk and find deep inside every heart a tiny reflection of His Father’s face. And that’s what He did in today’s gospel, when that young woman was caught in the act of adultery and was about to be stoned to death. He saw her sin — and this wasn’t her first time — but hidden underneath it He saw His Father’s face imprinted on her soul. (That mark said she was God’s child.) He saw her longing for happiness, for love, for a life. And He saw what she might yet become with a little help, with a second chance.
Then He looked at all those men, many of them old customers of hers, yet all with big stones in their hands, ready to erase her life without a second thought. Jesus saw past all that junk too, and there, engraved on their souls, too was His father’s face. They too were marked as God’s children. And in their souls were all the same hopes and longings, for life and happiness, for love and peace. And He saw what they too might become — with a second chance.
So He ignored their legal question and cut to the chase: "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone!" He wasn’t attacking them. He was inviting them to stop wasting their time being angry about the bad or stupid things other people do, and instead to look inward, see the truth about themselves, see the junk that was covering up the face of God inside them, and then to get rid of that junk. He was offering them a second chance.
What happens when a second chance is accepted? A grateful heart happens, a heart that knows how lucky it is, that knows how to wait patiently and, at the right time, extend a hand to others in whose hearts the face of God is covered with junk too.
Jesus showed us how to do this and why we need to. Now it’s our turn to walk in His footsteps, to put down our big stones, extend our hands and help one another lift away the junk that burdens every soul, till at last God’s smile may shine bright on every face — on your face and mine.