Homily thoughts...The Need for Space

What was Jesus writing on the ground? That is perhaps the most often asked question about this gospel story from John about the adulterous woman. St. Augustine suggested he was writing down the sins of the people in the crowd for when he would say to them, "Let the one among you with no sin be the first to cast a stone." 

It has also been suggested that he was not writing, but doodling...we doodle when we try to let the time pass. Perhaps he was giving the people time to think about what they were saying & doing, to look honestly into their hearts & to ask if they're behavior was in line with God's will. I like this possibility. It reminds me of a prayer called "The Prayer for Space"...

"Lord, give me space between my impulse and my actions." There is more to the prayer but this suffices. We ask to take some time between what was said or done to offend us, and our response to that. We react instead of respond. We act or speak quickly, definitively, judgmentally. Jesus did not rush to judgment. He thought, he inquired, he reasoned, he allowed time to pass that he might know the will of God in every situation. Wouldn't it be great if we could do the same?