In the United States as in many other countries around the world, the media tend to determine our choices unless we are vigilant and aware. Commercials tell us what to eat (but often downplay the harmful contents hidden in those products), what to wear, how to hide our age with beauty products – implying that aging is anathema! Implied at least in some instances and blatantly touted in others is a judgment of those who do not follow their dictates.
That’s just one example of all the cultural influences that cause our rush to judgment without much thought. This morning’s gospel recounts the story of the famous (or infamous) “woman caught in adultery.” For lots of women these days, the first question is about the whereabouts of and absence of judgment on her partner in this act – a good example of the culture of the time and place of Jesus. No one questioned anything about the circumstances (exactly as in the story of Susanna in today’s first reading from Daniel 13). In a stunning corrective to this situation, Jesus said simply to those who were ready to murder the woman, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” We might want to walk with this sentence in our pockets today, taking it out each time we meet someone, hear some news, read a text, look around at passersby or notice ourselves thinking on a topic. It might help to recognize how our minds work so swiftly. Catching the mind in motion doesn’t necessarily prove us to be judgmental in all situations but it might keep us alert to where our prejudices lie – just one more way to stay awake to life around and within us.