DON’T THROW STONES
In every society there are models of conduct that explicitly or implicitly shape personal behavior. They are models that greatly determine our way of thinking, acting, and living.
Let’s think about the juridical ordering of our society. The social living together is regulated by a legal structure that depends on a determined conception of the human being. That’s why, though the law may be just, its application can be unjust if we don’t attend to each man and woman in their unique and unrepeatable situation.
Even in our pluralistic society, it’s necessary to arrive at a consensus that makes our living together possible. That’s why we shaped a juridical ideal of a citizen as carrier of some rights and subject to some obligations. And it’s this juridical ideal that gets imposed with the force of law in society.
But this legal ordering, without doubt necessary for social living together, can’t end up adequately understanding the concrete life of each person in that person’s complexity, fragility and mystery.
The law will try to measure each person with justice, but with difficulty can it treat that person in every situation as a concrete being who lives and suffers their own existence in a unique and original manner.
How convenient it is to judge people from secure criteria. How easy and how unjust it is to appeal with the weight of the law in order to condemn so many marginalized and incapacitated people in our society, using the «law of the ideal citizen»: homeless children, juvenile delinquents, illiterate beggars, unreformed drug addicts, thieves not able to find work, prostitutes without any love, spouses who failed in their married love…
In the face of so many easy condemnations, Jesus invites us to not cold-heartedly condemn others from the pure objective of a law, without understanding them from the perspective of our own personal conduct. Before we throw stones against someone, we need to know how to judge our own sin. Maybe we would then discover that what many people need isn’t the condemnation of the law, but someone to help them and offer them a possibility of rehabilitation. What the adulterous woman needed wasn’t stones, but a friendly hand to help her be raised up. Jesus understood her.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf