Time to Think

When he published a work about St. Joan of Arc, the French Catholic poet Charles Peguy intentionally left the first pages blank. He did this, he explained, to give the reader time to think.

Perhaps giving people the time to think was Jesus’ motivation in today’s gospel. As we heard, hostile men had confronted him about what to do with a woman who had been caught in adultery.

But Jesus didn’t respond right away. Instead, he sat quietly on the ground, tracing his finger in the dirt. It was only after the angry mob continued to press him for an answer that Jesus finally spoke. “Let the man among you who has no sin,” he said, “be the first to cast a stone.”

But why did Jesus take so long to speak? Why the hesitation? Was Jesus stalling for time so he could find something appropriate to say? I don’t think so.

Maybe Jesus was trying to teach us that we need to take the time to think before we impulsively cast a stone at another. Time for our emotions to cool. Time to consider all the variables and circumstances involved. Time to recall our own sins. And time to think of God’s mercy, not only to others, but especially to us.

Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/041511.shtml

Photo credit: Bidrohi via Creative Commons