Ruminate on the word you were drawn to in yesterday’s scripture passage (John 7:53-8:11). What does the word or phrase you have chosen mean to you today?
The phrase that stood out for me today was: “…such women.” I could almost feel the contempt and utter disregard those two words are meant to convey in this context. They serve to further isolate and objectify this woman. I was reminded of a conversation I had long ago with someone close to me, and she used a similar phrase: “…those women,” also in reference to a particular sin. I quietly reminded her that I was one of “those women.” This person stumbled in trying to regroup and said: “I just don’t see you that way.” In this response is yet another similar phrase: “…that way.” I remember feeling sadness that this person, whom I love very much, simply could not tolerate the truth of who I am in my totality – my failures as well as my goodness. I felt our relationship suffer in that moment, since it was not possible for this person to truly be with me – she could only tolerate being with her image of me…which is not me.
We are all “such women”…we are all “such men”…our church is “such a church”; our family, our parish, our hierarchy, our clique, is “such a ….” We all fail to fully embrace the challenge of the Gospel; we all struggle to fully receive and believe in the radicality of the non-condemnatory love Jesus has for each of us; and we all struggle to embrace our own particular darkness…our own particular brand of infidelity.
In this passage, Jesus is teaching me to be aware of my own ‘inner Pharisee/scribe’ – that inner critic that struggles to allow Jesus to heal and integrate my identity…my humanity…my true self. Jesus gently urges me to let go of the rocks, and allow myself to truly be with the person of Jesus – instead of settling for my image of Jesus. The reality of Jesus is so much more.
©Woman Caught in Adultery, Aiden Hart with contributions by Donald Jackson and Sally Mae Joseph, 2003 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.