by: Br. Eric Lacsa [cjm]
Being judgmental was a part of me. I was into it for years when an incident came into my life. I was in Manila to continue my theological studies when my mother texted me that my father passed away. I packed my things immediately and went to the bus station in Cubao. My mind was totally filled with my memories of my father. When I got inside the bus I sat quietly on the seat assigned to me. I closed my eyes and from time to time, I looked at the people inside the bus. I noticed that some of them were comfortably relaxing on their seats while others were just looking at the window. I also noticed that there were not much passengers.
While waiting for the bus to depart, a man boarded the bus in haste along with two boys. The man sat beside me and the boys occupied the seat next to our row. The boys were so loud and rowdy, yelling at each other. All of a sudden, one of the boys got a bottled water and without a second thought threw it on the aisle. I noticed the irritation of all other passengers. I also felt irritated. I looked at the man beside me. He was not doing anything to pacify them. I could not understand that the man beside me was so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it.
When I couldn’t control my irritation anymore, I turned to the man beside me and said, “Excuse me sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. Could you try to calm them at least?” The man lifted his gaze as if he just got aware of what’s happening and said: “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We come here in Manila to visit a sick relative when I received a text from my family in Bicol that my wife had met an accident. She’s comatose right now and badly injured. I don’t know what to think at this time and my children don’t know how to handle it either.” I felt like cold water was suddenly poured upon me. I was taken aback and was led to “LOOK IN.” I felt that all my irritations drained away. In its place came compassion for the man and his two children.
In our gospel for today, a woman was brought to Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees. 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?” If I were to be asked that kind of question I would be “LOOKING OUT,” that is outside of me and onto the woman in question. As I do that, I would not at all hesitate to think that the woman indeed was at fault and deserves such judgment. Look! There are laws that are written to condemn such horrendous act of infidelity. Yes, it was a serious crime that was punishable by death according to the Law of Moses even during the time of Jesus.
But then, unlike all others who easily put judgment on others, this very short response of Jesus brought them back to their own selves: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” All of those who accused the woman melted in shame and had to “LOOK IN” themselves. They eventually left one by one. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir.” replied the woman. Then, another short answer by Jesus made her to “LOOK INTO” herself as well: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
It was revealing of Jesus that He wants all of us to “LOOK INTO” our own selves!” “LOOKING INTO” the self’ means that we are not mere sinners as we want to do, but persons whose God’s goodness abide “IN” us.