I appreciate the imagery and poetry of Isaiah. The Lord opens a way in the sea. God puts water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland.“See, I am doing something new! Do you not perceive it?”
The Pharisees in the gospel were sticklers for the law. They were looking for a way to trick Jesus because He wasn’t following the rules that defined morality, social status and their sense of righteousness. The rigidity of interpreting and enforcing the law offered only one possible way to act.
Jesus surprised the crowd and the woman. He perceived another way.“See I am doing something new!” Rather than to claim righteousness and the superiority of moral judgement; Jesus offers acceptance and forgiveness. His response is one of love and mercy. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman or the individuals in the crowd. He did not criticize, berate or bully anyone. He did not tell them they were wrong or that the law was not to be followed. He simply said that the person without sin could throw the first stone.
What the crowd realized was that each person has sinned. I have sinned. We all have sinned in some way at some time. Our loving and merciful God has forgiven us. God is always merciful. Jesus says to each of us, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Sister Jan Ginzkey, OSB