Archive for March, 2022

Throwing Stones 4-3-2022

Friday, March 4th, 2022

A woman has been caught in adultery. I can see her being dragged through the public streets, hair a mess, some garments hastily gathered around her. When the Pharisees see this woman, it is very clear what they see. They see sin. They see someone who must be condemned. They see imperfection and ugliness. They see a disgusted woman who really must be dragged out of town and them pelted with rocks and stones until her bones are broken or she dies. It is astonishing what they see.
Jesus looks at the same woman. What does He see? He knows very well she is a sinner, and he doesn’t make light of that, but he sees a troubled woman, a sick woman. He sees a human being with shaky self-esteem, with an empty and miserable life, and He is moved to administer the compassion of a God.
Which leads me to the question: When we look at life in general, or at the church, or at people in general…What do we see? Do we see only the negative, or something to criticize, or condemn? If we do, that says as much about me as it does about the world!

“All they could see inside of me was my sin,” thought the woman.
“Those Pharisees with their lecherous grins. Righteous fools in holy disguise. They dragged me down the public street and threw me at some Rabbi’s feet. I was afraid to look up at his face. So ashamed and undone at my public disgrace.”
‘Jesus, Jesus, what shall we do?’ the hypocrite crowd moaned.
“O God, I thought, I’m going to be stoned!”
‘Stone her, of course!’ he replied. ‘That will be fine but let the sinless one here be first in line.’
They had no idea what to say or how to act. So, they slinked away with their haughtiness cracked!
“I lay there, very near to despair. It was obvious He was the sinless one there and in God’s name would through the stone to draw my blood and crush my bone.”
‘Are you still here?’ He said, in a good-humored voice.
‘Go home, but from now on, make a wiser choice.’

Please remember this:
There is more to anyone than meets the eye. God sees deeper than you or them… so try. Try seeing yourself as God sees you and your sins will never freeze you. Try seeing others as God sees them and you may never pick up a stone again.


Friday, March 4th, 2022

It had been ten years since her divorce, and she was still angry, still envisioning some kind of vengeance, desperate for some way of evening the score.
Finally, her ever-patient rabbi told her: “Look at what you’ve been doing all these years. You’ve been standing here in Massachusetts holding a hot coal in your hand, waiting for your ex-husband to walk by so you can throw it at him. Meanwhile, he has been living happily in New Jersey with his new family and you’ve burned your hand while waiting.”
The word “forgiveness” comes from the Greek word meaning “to let go”. That is the heart of forgiveness: letting go—letting go of our desperate grasp of the past so that we can turn toward the future with hope.
The older brother’s resentment and anger makes it impossible for him to move on. Forgiveness is about building the future, about healing the past in order to live joyfully and meaningfully in the present. The prospect of getting even is seldom worth what it does to us as human beings. It’s not a matter of being saintly, but sensible.

Jesus calls us to embrace the example of the prodigal’s father: to let go of our anger and embrace—for our own peace—the possibilities for reconciliation with our “prodigal” sons and daughters.

A Torn Coat 3-20-2022

Friday, March 4th, 2022

Many years ago, in the days of the desert hermits, a soldier approached a humble monk named Milos. The soldier asked the monk whether God could forgive a sinner.
“Tell me,” Milos asked, “if your cloak was torn, would you throw it away?”
“Oh, no,” the soldier replied. “I would mend it and wear it again.”
“Well,” Abbot Milos responded, “if you care for the cloak, will God not show mercy on his own creature?”
The parable of the fig tree has been called the “Gospel of the second chance.” The gardener pleads on behalf of the tree, asking that it be given another year to bear fruit. We always live in the hope and mercy of God who keeps giving us “second chances” to rise from the ashes of sin to rebuild and re-create our lives. God’s love knows neither limits nor conditions; since the calls of Abraham and Moses, God continues to call his people back to him, despite their – and our – unfaithfulness and obtuseness. The only adequate response we can make to such spendthrift forgiveness from our God is be as forgiving of one another and as supportive as we can be to those souls struggling to mend their second, third or however many other “torn coats.”