What We Learn from Being “Caught in the Act”
Life of Christ (Week 11 of 27)
Is there value to being caught in the act? What act? Who’s catching?
I sat in the principal’s office, and though the memory is blurry with time, I remember well the feeling in the pit of my stomach.
A few years later, I was in the guidance counselor’s office. Once again, caught. Accused.
I knew I was wrong, both times.
And somehow, in those childhood moments, I received a lesson in both mercy and responsibility.
Sheen’s examination of the woman caught in adultery and the deeper look he takes at the situation made me pause.
Caught in the act! What sneaking, spying, and rottenness are hidden in their words! The accusers brought her into the midst of the crowd while Our Blessed Lord was teaching. The “holier than thou” men who had caught her in the act were very anxious that she should be publicly paraded, even to the point of interrupting the discourse of Our Blessed Lord. Human nature is base when it headlines and parades crimes of others before their fellow men. The pot thinks it is clean if it calls the kettle black. Some faces are never so gay as when regaling a scandal, which the generous heart would cover and the devout heart would pray over. The more base and corrupt a man, the more ready is he to charge crimes to others. Those who want credit for good character foolishly believe that the best way to get it is to denounce others.
Life of Christ, Chapter 21, Paragraph 6
Reading this, I was torn: on the one hand, I was outraged on behalf of the woman. How dare they! Those Pharisees: big fat jerks! Jesus showed them.
Except…on the other hand, I couldn’t help but see myself, deserving the punishment and being rewarded with love instead. I also couldn’t help but recognize in myself the desire to see someone else brought to justice. By gum, what she did was WRONG, plain and simple.
The error at the heart of it, in the heart of it, was the desire to trick Jesus.
And you know what: I relate with that. I’m that person, the one who wants to be the best, to see justice served, to not be wrong or misaligned.
I guess what I’m saying is that I can kind of relate with the Pharisees.
That’s the thing. I find myself relating with the Pharisees whenever I start really diving into the Gospels. I walk by Jesus, I see myself at his side, and then, before I know it, I’m the hypocrite he’s chastising.
And yet, that’s the very hope we all have:
…Our Blessed Lord brought a religion where the admission of sin is the condition of coming to Him. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are ill.”
Life of Christ, Chapter 21, Paragraph 22
1. When have you been accused, rightly or wrongly? How can you use that experience to turn to God?
2. How can you show mercy to those in your life today? At the very least, who needs your prayer right now?
Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!
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