When I was an eighteen-year-old boy closeted away in a novitiate these stories about adultery had me blushing so much I couldn’t read through them. Our novice master had told us that any giving away to sexual thoughts was a mortal sin. I have doubts about that now. When I listen to troubled people who feel the need for confession more than once a week I think those severe rules should not have been allowed to harm them.
What Susanna and the woman in the Gospel were accused of was not immorality, but adultery, seen as a sin against justice. Susanna and the woman in the Gospel were considered to be the property of their husbands. With their partners in sin they were seen to be guilty of cooperating in thievery, stealing from their husbands the bodies belonging to them.
People put forward many theories about what Jesus was writing in the dust. I have heard it was the word “Love.” I have heard it was evidence against the accusers of the woman. The theory I like best has Jesus scribbling nothing at all. He just didn’t want to be part of the circle of men who were condemning the lady.