Reducing stones to pebbles - Catholic Courier

Reducing stones to pebbles

Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.

A few words can say so much — and the Sunday reading from John 8, which we just heard March 17, has always packed a huge wallop for me.

It helps me to keep in check an unfortunately quick tendency to judge. Criticism is so very easy to distribute, and yet so very hard to accept. More times than I care to remember, I’ve flung an excess of stones and protested too loudly when some have come hurtling back at me. And I’m not alone. Doesn’t it seem that the world’s pockets are overflowing with stones?

The Pharisees’ comeuppance was well-deserved. Jesus was speaking out against people who passed judgment and wished to see others suffer, while turning a blind eye to their own foibles. I’m sure Jesus would have a thing or two to say about today’s reality shows and our public fascination with watching people get humiliated.

Yet there can be a rub in embracing this Gospel passage. Don’t we just love to pile on against those mean and nasty scribes and Pharisees? Don’t we utilize them, as well, to inflate our own self-righteousness? If I don’t watch out, my judgment against perceived modern-day Pharisees, teachers of the law, etc., might just make me the very thing I’m trying to avoid.

It’s vital to remember that Jesus was without sin, and thus had the right to pass judgment on anyone he wanted. I don’t own that right. Nobody does.

If you find that recalling the woman caught in adultery isn’t enough to reduce your stones to pebbles, may I suggest another Gospel mainstay:

Love one another.

Happy Easter, all.

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