THE SIN THAT LIVES IN US WE SEE IN OTHERS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
1st Reading: Dan 13:1-9. 15-17. 19-30. 33-62; Psalm: 23. R. v. 4abc; Gospel: Jn 8:1-11
A man stole a pair of crutches displayed outside a shop. The shop owner raised an alarm and just in a flash he was caught few miles away. Exactly a week ago, a boy was burnt alive in this same market for pickpocketing. Stealing, no matter how small was hated in this market. Within minutes this man was surrounded by a mob that broke his legs and set him ablaze before the police showed up. The police traced the home of this unfortunate man to inform his family of his gruesome death. What they saw on getting to his house moved them to tears. The dead man was a widower who had a teenage child. The boy was a cripple and had asked his father for crutches for a birthday gift. The boy instead got his father’s dead body on his birthday.
Our world is a hostile world that has mastered jungle justice. We have become so impulsive in joining the crowd in condemning people without asking questions. It is as though we don’t verify accusations anymore but are very quick in reacting. I bet you, not all those who picked up stones to stone this adulterous woman in today’s gospel actually saw her in the act. Most of them were passersby who on hearing her crime picked up stones to kill her.
The story of Susanna in the first reading of today says something about us. It reveals that we are guilty of the sins we accuse in others. And that those who condemn others stand to receive a greater judgment. If we look inwardly, we will see how wicked and sinful our hearts are. The reason we have not committed the same sin we condemn in others could be because we have not had the opportunity to do so. Or because we have not found ourselves in the same circumstances that tempted others to commit such sin. Take these two elders for example. They failed to commit adultery just because Susanna did not give in.
We are not different. Often times our hearts are full of sinful thoughts but we only did not act them out because there are no opportunities to do so. This is why we have no right to condemn any one. Jesus said “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.” We should be people of pity and love and not people who are judgmental or condemnatory. We don’t know or understand the circumstances surrounding the other person’s action. And so we do not have the full knowledge to judge. Judgment only is for God. If you are not a sinner; congratulations to you. But if we all are sinners, then all we need to show is love and compassion.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, have mercy on us for we have lawlessly departed from you. Help us to recognise the sins within our hearts so as to be slow to condemn the sins of others. Amen.