THE POLITICS OF LAW-AND-ORDER

DAILY DEVOTIONAL

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I begin with an account of Christ being confronted by teachers of the Law and those declared themselves as the Holy Ones…

Christ writing in the sandAt dawn Jesus appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
 “No one, sir,” she said. 
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”      
– John 8:1-10

They used a woman to set a trap for Christ.  In the midst of a crowd, they challenge Christ to declare if He is a man of law-and-order, adhering to the demands of the Law.  But Christ knows the nature of their hearts … they have no concern for justice, only for political power and treacherous ends.  And so Christ confronts them …

“You who claim to be so righteous, dead set on punishing those who are sinful … then be about your work … but first, look within yourselves.  Should you then not first punish yourselves for your own sins.  Let the one among you supposedly righteous people who is not a sinner in need of mercy … let that one cast the first stone!”

To cast the first stone … in truth, that is not why they came.  They came to debate the issue of keeping law-and-order.  Then Christ performed the just purpose of mercy … “I do not condemn you … you have my mercy … now go and sin no more.”  This is the holy form of justice known as restorative justice.

So the choice is ours … do we live as the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees or do we live as Christ?

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz

About Father Charitas de la Cruz

a Jesuit missionary into realms of dreams and possibilities: a pastor, a counselor, a poet, a photographer, a contemplative Christian, servant of Christ, pen name of Rev. Dr. Jim McWhinnie
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