Once upon a time a man was caught stealing and was brought before the king, who immediately gave orders that he be hanged. However, as he was being led to the gallows, the man told the prison governor that he knew a wonderful secret, which was taught him by his father. He claimed that using this secret he could plant the seed of a pomegranate and make it grow and bear fruit overnight. He said that it would be a pity if the secret died with him, and that he was willing to reveal it to the king.
The governor was so impressed that he halted the execution, and brought the man back before the king. There the man dug a hole in the ground, and taking a pomegranate seed said, “Your Majesty, the seed must be planted by a person who has never taken anything that didn’t belong to him. I being a thief cannot do it.” Then turning to one of the king’s officials he said, “Maybe you would like to plant it.”
But the official refused, saying, “In my younger days I kept something that did not belong to me.” Then the man turned to the king’s treasurer and said, “Well then, maybe you would like to plant it.” But the treasurer too refused, saying, “Over the years, I’ve handled a lot of money. Now and again I might have kept a little for myself.”
And so it went on. Finally there was only the king left. Turning to him the man said, “Perhaps your Majesty would do the honor of planting the seed.” But the king said, “I’m ashamed to say it, but once I kept a watch that belonged to my father.”
Then the thief said, “All of you are great and powerful people and want for nothing. Yet none of you can plant the seed, while I who have stolen a little because I was starving am about to be hanged!”
The king pardoned him. The story would have ended very differently if the king had not been prepared to listen. Instead, thanks to his patience and to the imagination of the condemned man, no one died and they all learned a very important lesson.
The Gospel account today of the woman caught in adultery could have ended in an ugly way if Jesus had agreed with the Scribes and Pharisees. Instead, thanks to the understanding and compassion he showed her, she was able to put it behind her and make a fresh start.
The fact that Jesus didn’t condemn her does not mean that he thought lightly of adultery. Jesus realized that she had already been condemned and what she needed now was compassion and understanding. Jesus treated her in such a way that it made her want to change her life.
Once again we are reminded that our God is a God of second chances as he calls us to conversion of heart and a change in the way we live. If we understand this, we will fall on our knees in gratitude and never cast a stone at another person again!
— Fr. Dennis, April 7, 2019