Jesus planned to stay in Galilee instead of going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He knew that some of the Jewish leaders there wanted him arrested and killed. He also knew his time to die had not yet come.
After some more thought, he changed his mind and went. During the feast, he taught in the temple. All who heard him were amazed, because he taught as if he were a rabbi, even though he had not been trained as one.
One morning, he came to the temple area at an early hour. When the people saw him, they gathered around to hear him teach.
All of a sudden, Jesus’ teaching was interrupted by loud, angry voices. The scribes and the Pharisees were dragging a woman along with them as they walked toward Jesus. They forced the woman to stand in the middle of the group of people who were gathered around Jesus.
“Teacher,” the scribes and Pharisees announced, “this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
The scribes and Pharisees were not truly interested in what Jesus had to say. They only wanted to try to trick the Lord into saying something wrong so they could bring a charge against him and have him arrested.
Jesus knew this. He didn’t say a word. He just bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But the scribes and the Pharisees wouldn’t let up. They kept pressing for Jesus to answer them.
Jesus stood up.
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” the Lord answered them.
Then he again bent down to write on the ground.
The scribes and the Pharisees had no response, other than to slowly leave Jesus one by one. Eventually, the woman was left alone with Jesus.
“Woman, where are they?” Jesus asked. “Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” the woman replied.
Jesus looked at the woman with love and forgiveness.
“Neither do I condemn you,” he told the woman. “Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT
1. Where was Jesus teaching?
2. Who brought the woman to Jesus?
In Leviticus 23, God told Moses about the seven festivals he wanted the Israelites to celebrate. One of those festivals was the Feast of Booths, a pilgrimage festival that also was sometimes called the Feast of Tabernacles.
During these festivals, the Israelites were to do or not do certain things on certain days. For example, the holy days during the feasts were to be days of rest when no work was to be done. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Israelites were not to eat any bread that contained leavening, which is a substance such as yeast that makes bread rise. On New Year’s Day, God wanted trumpets to be sounded to remind people of the special day, which is why it also was referred to as the Feast of Trumpets.
During Pentecost, different kinds of offerings were to be made to God. On the Day of Atonement, all those who did not humble themselves before the Lord were to be cut off from the people. And during the Feast of Booths, the people were to dwell in booths for seven days as a reminder of the temporary shelters in which the people lived after God led them out of slavery in Egypt.
According to legend, St. Enda (d. 530) was an Irishman whose sister was married to a king. He asked his brother-in-law for some land on the Aran Islands so he could build a religious community there.
Enda built a monastery and 10 smaller houses. To test his followers for sinfulness, it is said that he would place each one in a wicker canoe that did not have its covering, so the boat was not watertight. If the boat stayed afloat in the water when the person was in it, the person was free from sin.
St. Enda is credited with starting monasticism in Ireland, and we honor him on March 21.