MONDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Dan 13: 1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 We hear the story of Susanna falsely accused of adultery and rescued by the boy named Daniel.
Gospel: Jn 8: 12-20 Jesus forgives the sin of a woman taken in adultery and rescues her from certain death at the hands of her accusers.
MERCY AND JUSTICE HAVE EMBRACED
“Mercy and faithfulness have met, justice and peace have embraced.” This verse (Ps 85:10) seems to come alive in today’s readings. Mercy was shown to the woman in the Gospel; God’s faithful love was revealed to Susanna. Justice was declared by the lips of Daniel in favour of Susanna; peace was generously offered to the woman in the Gospel.
Today, the liturgy presents to us God’s merciful love which far surpasses the paradigms of justice. We come across two women today – a God-fearing daughter of Judah, Susanna; and a lost lamb, a loose woman. God extends his helping hand to both, yet, his action can be analyzed differently. In Susanna’s case, it becomes God’s prerogative to save her, who has placed all her trust in him (cf. Is 59:1). She has not sinned; rather, she has been faithful. Here, we witness God’s justice manifested in saving his subjects, and punishing the wicked elders.
In the case of the woman in the Gospel, we would not be wrong to presume that she had never bothered about God’s law, but lived to satisfy her sensuality. Yet, when the scribes and the Pharisees condemn her, Jesus uses his finger, which etched the law onto the tablets in the Old Testament (Dt:5:22), to write a new law of love, a renewed law of mercy (Mt 22:37-39). It is noteworthy that the woman has no name. We could give this character our own names; for the times we fall away from grace are numerous. She stands out as a beacon of hope for us.
We could connect ourselves to either of these women. There might arise in our lives, situations, when even after doing everything we could, we might be criticized by others. Then, like Susanna, let us submit to God’s will, trusting that retribution belongs to him (Dt:32:35). And when we sin, let us continue to hope in God’s infinite mercy, drawing a lesson from the woman in the Gospel.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23: 1-6 Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
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