In an old Bugs Bunny cartoon the rascally rabbit cons someone, then walks away saying, what an idiot, what a maroon. Even when I saw this as a child I recognized the mistake, using the wrong word, and understanding that maybe the wrong person, if Bugs can be considered a person, was the maroon. The scribes and Pharisees bring a woman to Jesus, a woman caught in adultery. I doubt they really cared much about this woman or her sin, cynically they hoped to trap Jesus, forcing him to choose to either stick with the letter of the law or to let her go despite the law. A neat trap, one they could spring and walk away saying what an idiot, what a maroon. Instead Jesus questions them. Who among you is without sin, who among you is perfect? If you are sinful, imperfect, how can you cast judgment on another imperfect being? Slowly they begin to walk away, realizing that maybe the wrong person, or persons, were the maroon. Far too often in my own life I have lashed out, judging someone, someone I thought, someone I knew, was wrong. How could they do that? How could they be that way? They deserve their fate and worse, what an idiot, what a maroon. Then, later I learn more about that person, their circumstances, and see how foolishly harsh I was in my judgment. I look at myself and realize many could look at me, at things I have done, and be just as harsh in judgment against me, despite not knowing me or my circumstances. We must understand that in our own imperfection, we cannot judge others. The only one who can is the one who is perfect. When I try to judge, to point out another’s faults, just who is the maroon?
The Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 21, 2010