Monday, March 23, 2015

Reflection for Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
JN 8: 1-11

God’s mercy and judgement. While such are very relevant in this Lenten season – this can be an incredibly intimidating subject. Upon reading today’s gospel, many may identify with those men tempted to throw the first stone. For, how often are we quick to judge the people in our lives for the different choices they make? And how seldom do we stop and empathize with them before throwing a judgmental remark their way?

We all have people in our lives who we just do not understand at all. With every remark or decision, they have this keen ability to get under our skin and make us want to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Hey, you know what, that’s just who they are.”

However, in skipping that empathy piece, and simply saying, “That’s just who they are” – are we any different than the men in the story about to stone the woman? The men in the story had labeled the woman as "hopeless" and "irreconcilable." All of us do this in some way or another – on a large or small scale - to people we know or, maybe even more frequently, the strangers we meet everyday.

But, Jesus did not teach us to point fingers at those people and dismiss them as “those sinners.” He taught us to, in turn, look inside ourselves and find a level of connection with them before throwing the first stone.

Empathy- defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Jesus challenges us to take empathy a step further here – to develop the ability to understand and share the sins of others.

We cannot simply dismiss our neighbors and label them hopeless as “That’s just who they are.” We all are connected in our sinfulness and it is our duty as Christians to delve into the fire and put ourselves into the shoes of the suffering.

Each of us are no better than the most sinful of our neighbors – that’s a hard pill to swallow but that’s essentially Jesus’ message here. We are all sinners – we all have the same tendencies as humans to fall into original sin and to take the wrong path. It is our responsibility as Christians, and brothers and sisters, to aid each other in this difficult life – not to judge and turn a blind eye over to our pride. In failing to do so, we are no better than the sinner we judge.

Jesus challenges us in today’s gospel to have mercy on the least of us and to reserve judgement for the Father. But it is not enough to simply turn away and label our neighbor as “God’s problem.” For God said, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man…but rather in his conversion, that he may live.” The wicked man’s conversion is not only in God’s hands, but in the hands of those around him – all of us. We play a vital role in spreading the Lord’s goodness in the world – even if that requires getting our hands dirty.

Lindsey Cross is a Junior studying Communication Sciences and Disorders.

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