On this day in 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. led 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; and in 1980, J.R. Ewing was shot by an unseen assailant, leading to the catchphrase “Who Shot JR?”
Spring is officially here for a day or two now. It seems it is more wintery today in St. Louis than it was a week ago. Hopefully, the overcast and rainy weather leaves soon. I NEED SUN!
Today’s reflection is of Jesus saving the woman that committed adultery from death by stoning.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“Don’t do anything to defend yourself; bear everything with humility; God Himself will defend you”.
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.” (NAB Jn 8:1-7)
The Mount of Olives: to me, this was Jesus’ place of refuge and prayer towards the end of His earthly ministry. This was His place to go when He wanted to be closer to God, just as Eucharistic adoration at my parish church is for me. Significant covenants and events involved some type of exposure to mountains. Noah’s ‘Ark’ landed on had Mount Ararat. Abraham was tested on Mount Moriah with the sacrifice of Isaac (that was stopped prior to executing). Moses spent forty days on Mount Horab (twice) to receive the Ten Commandments (twice). And Jesus was “Transfigured” earlier on Mount Tabor.
Jesus’ opponents attempted to set a trap in this gospel reading. Jesus knew the law well, and knew the Old Testament even better. Leviticus 20:10 and Deut 22:22 mention only death, but Deuteronomy 22:23-24 prescribed stoning for a betrothed virgin. The law dictated death, but Jesus knew that punishment by death was not for us on earth to decide. Only one being is the judge of who dies, and who doesn’t; God! Here that politicians: only God decides who dies! Jesus’ own mother could have very well have been killed by stoning some 30 or so years earlier, for being pregnant with our Messiah: Jesus Christ!.
Why did John make such a big deal about Jesus drawing on the ground with His finger? In Jeremiah 17:13 (RSV), it is written “Those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken thee, the fountain of living water.” I think Jesus was fairly overtly reminding the temple teachers of the shared guilt of sin by those condemning this woman.
When pushed for an answer, Jesus reminds them of that the first stones were to be thrown by the witnesses that are condemning her (Deuteronomy 17:7). Jesus just added a simple sentence to this law: the first without sin should throw the first stone. A unique approach to an obvious trap set for Jesus. I marvel at Jesus’ cunning and simple approach to living the gospel. Thank God the sinless Blessed Virgin Mary was not there though!?
“Lord, I am living high on the mountain of faith and fortitude for you. Please help me to stay on this mountain forever. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Enda
Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained. He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed. With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #21:
On various levels, each fraternity is animated and guided by a council and minister who are elected by the professed according to the constitutions. Their service, which lasts for a definite period, is marked by a ready and willing spirit and is a duty of responsibility to each member and to the community. Within themselves the fraternities are structured in different ways according to the norm of the constitutions, according to the various needs of their members and their regions, and under the guidance of their respective council.