“Bad Moms” And Fire-Fighting Storks

As we reflected on this Sunday’s gospel about the woman caught in the act of adultery,  the current headlines involving rich and famous parents trying to buy their kids’ way into reputable colleges lingered in my mind.   Like the media frenzy in this “bad moms” of college students scenario, I could similarly envision the ruckus of the scribes and Pharisees in the gospel who drag the woman to the temple area, demanding her condemnation.  Although an injustice deserves to be corrected, I wonder how many crimes of murder, human trafficking, starving refugees and natural disasters are more deserving of our awareness and concern in relation to the amount of publicity this situation has reaped.

As the men wait for Jesus to confirm their indignation with this woman, he mysteriously writes on the ground with his finger. What is this scripted message that changes their hearts from condemning her; perhaps the names of their own sins?

Gospel JN 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, 
and all the people started coming to him, 
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman 
who had been caught in adultery 
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught 
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin 
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

 

Reflections From The Group

Repent and turn…

Truly repenting of a sin is at least a two-part process; not only do we begin to understand the way our sin has hurt God, ourselves, and others, but we begin the turn from committing that sin again.   We cannot always turn from sin and temptation of our own strength.  We must request assistance from God’s grace to help remove us from the temptation.  Our humanity mistakenly relies on its strength, moving us in a vicious cycle.

They said this to test him…

What is our reason for needing to know someone else’s motives when we judge their words or behavior? Are we truly trying to identify an injustice or judge them? When we are acting in justice, we go directly to the person and seek understanding.  The scribes and the Pharisees were always trying to trap Jesus.  We must be sure to do as scripture suggests and go to a person first with our concerns, giving them first opportunity to reconcile any misunderstanding (Matthew 18:15.)

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman 
who had been caught in adultery 
and made her stand in the middle.

While no one really knows the circumstances in which this woman was “caught” in the act, we have to ask ourselves how much of our own time is spent looking around at other’s mistakes so we can condemn them.  It makes us feel better to focus on someone else’s faults, rather than deal with our own inequities.

So he was left alone with the woman before him…

In the end, it will be just me and God.  There will be no one else to blame.  There will be no excuses or explaining away the things I have not reconciled with Him. We must remember not to waste time looking around, but seeking my own quiet time with just me and the Lord in order to always be aware of what He is asking of me.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” –Mother Teresa

Sambeetarts; courtesy of Pixabay

There will always be situations in which we should hold others accountable, but let us not waste time that could be spent encouraging others or appreciating their gifts.  Just as we would do for others we love, we must also celebrate our own small victories in gaining virtue, giving all thanks and glory to God for His grace.

 

 

 

The Case of The Firemen Playing “Stork”

A fire-fighter and his wife had been wanting a child and decided to adopt. His fellow firemen were supportive and excited for this man who would do anything to help those he knew. The brotherly bonds among these men were strong, and it when it came time for the “delivery”, they arranged with the adoption agency to play “stork” and deliver the child to their co-worker and friend by way of the fire truck. The staff from the fire station gathered up meals, gifts and bringing the child, they surprised their co-worker and his wife with their new family member and a shower of celebration.

Courtesy of Wikimedia

What we loved about this case was the virtue of brotherhood and charity these fire-fighters had for each other. Celebrating this new addition to his family was an honor for his friends.

As we always examine how the world may view our weekly faith case, we couldn’t help but discuss the contrast in celebrating life with baby showers and adoptions, when at the same time some states have legalized “after-birth” abortion.  We then discussed many states that have laws that seemed to protect plants and animals but not humans.  One disconcerting example was the state of New York, who passed a law for infanticide  coincidentally the same month it also passed to protect some kind of bug.

With the release of the powerful movie, “Unplanned” in the theaters,  the audience is introduced not only to the procedure of abortion, but to the wreckage it leaves behind.  The audience also gets a taste of the pain and difficulties women have when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. We also discussed what we could do to help them.

Praying outside of Planned Parenthood, we often see and hear stories of women being taken into the facility under the pressure of a boyfriend or a family member who demands they “take care” of this “problem” instantly.  If you go onto 40daysforlife.com, you will read many testimonies of these women revisit the volunteers who helped support them when they were finally freed of the pressure to abort.

In the end, the stark contrast of a child coming into the world being celebrated or denied a chance at life was our motivation to pray and act at the roots of what feel this case demonstrates. First, encouraging men (beginning in our homes) who are courageous to take care of their families and show support for one another in it through prayer.

Secondly, helping people who have children but do not have a system of support like these amazing brotherly fire-fighters.

Theological Virtue: Charity

Cardinal Virtue: Justice

Human Virtue: Love of Neighbor, Kindness

How we will act: We will support women who decided to keep their baby by donating to our area Pregnancy Help centers and Diocese who supports families in need.  We will collect infant items this week and next to be delivered during Holy Week.

How we will pray:  We will pray the “Spouse’s Prayer” in our prayer book for our marriages to be good examples in society of love and acceptance and for our husbands to be examples of Spiritual Leaders of families in a society that so needs this beautiful example of brotherly love and spiritual men.