5th Week in Lent, Monday – 27th March 2023 – Daniel 13,1-62; Jn 8,1-11
Stories and Perspectives have not changed
Today’s readings have a few similarities. In both, first reading and the Gospel, a woman is accused of adultery; a sin of secrecy made public on vulnerable persons. In both cases, some of the leaders seek to condemn and execute the woman who is accused of adultery; an expression of male domination and authoritative power play. In both cases, the accused woman is set free after facing the trial; an intervention of divine inspiration through individuals. In the Gospel, the accused woman is guilty of the sin, but receives forgiveness and compassion from Jesus. Her name is never mentioned. Whereas in the first reading, the story begins with the description of the person with her name as Susanna and she is wrongly accused of the crime. Knowing the corrupt mind and lustful intentions of two elderly Jewish judges, lonely Susanna tries to escape the situation. She realizes that she is trapped by their wickedness and false accusations, but does not fall into sin till the end. In facing the death sentence, she publicly lifts up her plea in prayer to God, the final judge. God hears her prayer and sends Daniel to defend her and to set things right for her and convict the sinful judges. Though this long and dramatic story is really on Daniel, on his perception and wisdom, and as champion of justice, yet in today’s liturgy, it focuses on the sin of adultery. There are many stories of adulteries told and untold that are repeated in history and will go on for eternity, how are we forming part of the solution? As faithful followers, do we have a judgmental and impure mind in looking at the victims of sin of adultery? Do our women knowing that they are vulnerable and used for pleasure will still fall into the unknown traps of wicked men?