5th Sunday of Lent: Throwing Stones


By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8: 1-11)

Jesus continues his journey toward Jerusalem where he will meet his death, and as he goes, he continues to attract crowds. People have assembled to hear him speak when suddenly the scribes and Pharisees bring forward a woman accused of adultery.

We are horrified today. We feel her shame, humiliation and embarrassment. We feel her deep fear of being stoned to death.

The accusers ask Jesus to weigh in on this abomination. They say, “Moses commanded us to stone such women.

The compassionate, non-judgmental Jesus surprises the crowd. He merely stoops down and writes in the sand.

What does he write? Through the years, people have tried to figure it out. No answer has ever been determined.

What we know is, he straightened up and said, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Questions for Reflection:

Who have you gossiped about?

What sin is in you that you would notice and declaim in others?

What sin have you identified in another and publicly shamed her/him for?

With only two weeks of Lent left, let’s pray that the darkness in our hearts can evolve to loving others into being the very best they can be. Let’s pray for forgiveness of our own – and others’ – sins. Let’s pray for mercy for all.

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