Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Book of the Prophet Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62, Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6,
& John 8:1-11
Susanna and the Elders by Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Today's readings seem to be about justice, imperfect judgments, and trusting God's loving-kindness. They speak in answer to the sadness and anger in our world today.
The list, in many ways, is endless. As a result, I am reading about the "spirituality of imperfection" and praying over my errors in judgment. This process includes noticing the splinter in another's eye and disregarding the beam in your own. Our readings give us stories that help us know God's love for our imperfect selves, like all good stories.
First, we have the reading from Daniel. This long narrative reads like an enjoyable detective story, with Daniel as an early entry in a lengthy list of detectives in popular culture. Aside from the excellent plot, the story tells us about the innocent Susanna's appeal to God, and what strikes me in this time of trouble is how happy the whole assembly is to know the truth. So then, we welcome that justice was done and the truth discovered. Not only is Susanna saved, but ourselves as we recognize our limitations and "spiritual imperfections."
Next, the beautiful 23rd Psalm has us sing about our trust in God, our Good Shepherd, and our wise Leader, who saves us from taking the wrong path and preserves us from danger.
In the Gospel of Saint John, we hear the story of a woman found in adultery, and this time, the woman is guilty as charged. She has been dragged in front of Jesus because the educated community leaders want to "have some charge to bring against Him." As a condemned criminal on the equivalent of death row and the scribes and Pharisees tool, she doesn't ask for forgiveness because she did not expect to be forgiven. However, Jesus quietly reminds those educated leaders that each of them is imperfect. I suspect that they just bowed their heads and walked away, littering the ground with the stones they had in their hands.
We do not know what happens to the woman. She may have felt hatred, anger, fear, anxiety, and hostility, and she might have even blamed her partner for her sin. We can only hope that after our Lord's kindness to her, and after amending her life, that she may have "heard" Jesus and recognized His wisdom and loving-kindness and prayed for forgiveness. And so, we are saved!
Questions of the Day: Where have we felt surrounded by darkness from outside or from within ourselves? How has the consoling light of God's love come to us?
Prayer: "Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil, for you are at my side." (Psalm 23)