One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

April 02, 2006

For Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 8:1-11

A mob drags into the house of God a woman caught in adultery.
They put her before Christ, and there in the house of GOD they cite the law of GOD regarding those who commit adultery.
If Christ tells them to leave her alone, then he will have discredited himself by contradicting GOD’S law inside GOD’S house.
If instead Christ should dare to play God by pronouncing her sin forgiven, then the mob can stone him to death for speaking blasphemy against GOD inside GOD’S house with GOD as witness.
If however Christ says the woman should be put to death according to God’s law, then the mob can inform the Romans that Christ has incited murder.
So, the mob of scribes and Pharisees has Christ pinned on three points.
Inside GOD’S house, with GOD as witness, Christ must defend, attack or forgive the adulteress.
On any of these points, the mob can defeat or destroy him.
What does Christ do— how does he answer?
In silence, he bends down to write in the dust with his finger.
The mob continues to press the case.
After a bit, Christ stands straight, and— with one sentence— turns their case upside down onto their heads.
Standing upright INSIDE THE HOUSE OF GOD, Christ says:
Let the ONE among you who is WITHOUT SIN
be the first to throw a stone at her.

There inside the house of GOD, the ONE-WITHOUT-SIN is GOD HIMSELF.
Christ is telling them to let GOD be the first to throw a stone at her.
If any man in the mob now would act against this woman— or against Christ— that man would himself be guilty of playing GOD THE SINLESS ONE inside the house of GOD THE SINLESS ONE.
That man would then be guilty of grave blasphemy and deserve to be stoned to death.
Furthermore, the Scriptures of God— in the books of Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Malachi and Daniel— declare that a blasphemer will have his name written INTO THE DIRT— into the dirt instead of written in heaven. (Cf.: Jer. 12:13; Ex. 32:32; Is. 4:3; Mal. 3:16; Dan. 12:1)
As if illustrating this, Christ bends down a SECOND time to write a SECOND time in the dirt.
The mob is forced to slink away defeated— no longer as a mob, but only ONE BY ONE.
Beginning with the elders who know the Scriptures the best, they slink out of the house of God as Christ continues to write in the dirt.
After they are all gone, Christ stands up again and finally speaks to the guilty woman.
Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.

Jesus Christ IS … THE SINLESS ONE.
In the house of God, Christ has full right as God to be the first to throw a stone at this woman.
Instead, he is the last to remain and stand with her in the house of God.
God the sinless Son casts no stone, but says two things to the sinner.
Neither do I condemn you.
From now on, DO NOT SIN ANY MORE.

He does not condemn her, but he condemns sin.
From now on, DO NOT SIN ANY MORE.

This event foreshadows the Cross.
With the Cross and with his own Precious Blood, our Sinless Lord will sign his own sinless, innocent name into the dirt of death, so that our names— the names of sinners— can be written in heaven, written into the home of God himself.
From the Cross, Christ will look up to the Father, and say on behalf of us sinners:
Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do.

Here from this altar, we shall receive: the Flesh and the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
May he have mercy on us!
May he grant us peace!
Let us repent— SIN NO MORE— and believe ever more fully in the Gospel by which God shows us the open door of heaven!

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger Jennifer said...

Great post, Father.

I always wondered about this particular moment with the finger, writing in the dust--I always connected it in my mind to drawing Adam from the dust--and that he was WRITING in the dust---placing the WORD in the dust--was a sort of imprint of God in man, even in death.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Andrew S. said...

I really liked how you pointed out that the only sinless one was Jesus himself. That was a great way to connect everything!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Jennifer, Andrew S.,
pray for the preacher!

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father, pray for one who stands before Jesus in the same sin as the adulterous woman. Your sermon moved me to tears to remember:

"Neither do I condemn you. DO NOT SIN ANYMORE."

2:08 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Anonymous child of the heavenly Father!
God bless you!
Pray for this preacher!

3:50 PM  

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