Every day when we watch the T.V News, or read the Headlines and stories on line, most of the eye catching events are about people getting into trouble. Either this one was caught robbing a Jewelry Shop, or someone has ripped off the Tax Office, and has been caught, or some unfaithfulness in marriage, or some personal argument about a couple players in a Cricket team etc. I wonder if the TV ratings would be the same if they were all good stories about the positive and noble things that people have done? Most probably the ratings would really slip. There is something within our human nature that gets enjoyment and satisfies our curiosity, out of seeing someone get caught, and the issue made public. Most certainly there are times when you would hope that some people do get caught for the way that they have gravely disturbed and abused other decent people, through robbery, murder etc.
In today’s Gospel we see some excited Scribes and Pharisees, who were really trying to catch Jesus out by using a person, in this instance, a woman, who they really didn’t care about, but abused her by making a spectacle of her in front of the crowd, and in front of Jesus. For the Jewish Leaders they treated her like an object, to satisfy their sinister curiosity.
Let’s go back to the first reading for a minute…Isaiah is recalling to the ‘community’s’ mind’ of Israel, that the Lord God would always do new deeds, like the deeds that God did in the great Exodus from Egypt, and the initiation of the marriage contract with His people on Sinai…In fact the brotherhood of Isaiah, were looking forward to a time when their God would do new deeds again and again, so that the world order of people, would be turned upside down in a totally new way of relating, loving, forgiving and living as a Community.
Here in this Gospel story we see Jesus, the human face of the Father doing precisely a new deed……’neither do I condemn you, go away and sin no more’ Jesus turned the tables on the Jewish leaders, and any onlookers who sided with them….’one by one, they left the scene’ because the simple message of Jesus hit the ‘quick’ in all the fingers that pointed in condemnation of the woman. Are we on red alert to catch someone out? Are we more ‘at home’ with negative thoughts about other people than positive ones? Do we sometimes get pleasure in seeing good people being condemned? Food for Thought!
THE STORY OF THE TEA-POT STAIN
A couple of years ago, a group of men were relaxing in a very nice Café’ called ‘The Leaf’ at Rouse Hill, in Sydney, after a hard day’s work. As a waitress was walking past their table with a pot of Irish Breakfast Tea, one of the men made a sweeping gesture to emphasise a story he was telling. His hand collided with the tea pot and sent it crashing against the beautifully painted wall, where its contents left and irregular brown splotch.
Standing nearby, the Manager surveyed the damage. “That stain will never come out”, he said in dismay. “The whole wall will have to be repainted.” “Perhaps not”, was the reply from one of the customers”. All eyes turned to the person who had just spoken. What do you mean?” asked the Manager. Let me work with the stain,” said the man, standing up from his table in the corner. “If my work meets with your approval, you won’t need to repaint the wall.” He then picked up a box and went to the wall. Opening the box, he withdrew pencils, brushes, and some glass jars of linseed oil and pigment. He began to sketch lines around the stain and fill in here and there with dabs of colour and swishes of shading. Soon a picture began to emerge. The random splashes of tea had been turned into the image of a stag with a magnificent rack of antlers.
And this is what God wants to do to each one of us! He wants to take the stains and disappointments of our lives and not merely erase them, but rather turn them into a thing of beauty.
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