Today’s first reading is a long one! It goes into great detail, much like you’d find in a crime scene of a novel.
And, amidst this drama with Susanna and the two elders, it’s possible to focus mostly on how God spared Susanna.
But what struck me while reflecting upon it was God’s justice. In this story, we see how God wants to teach us that He is just. And, how through the Holy Spirit, Daniel emerges and courageously becomes an agent of God’s justice.
At times, we might feel that powerful, the connected people can get away with things that we would be punished … that there are two tiers of justice.
And, though that does happen among mankind, this reading reminds us that God’s justice is real. He isn’t swayed by our last name, title, or how much money we have, with God there is a right and a wrong.
But at the same time, as we heard in today’s gospel, God takes pity on us. It’s in this famous scene with the woman caught in adultery and those wanting to stone her to death that Jesus shows us how justice and mercy work together for our salvation.
Just like in the first reading, the crowd is worked up to mete out justice. But in this case the woman is guilty. However, in the eyes of God, just like each of us, she is redeemable.
I think that’s the second main point that God brought to me through prayer and reflection. That though we and our loved ones throughout our lives fall into sin, sometimes even serious sin, that we are not lost causes.
If we were, the Father would never have sent His Son. In this gospel scene, Jesus doesn’t dispute the woman’s guilt, but he helps all who are about to execute her to see their sinfulness, the things that they have done that require forgiveness.
In a way, we are all reminded to take a look into our past, since our last Confession to acknowledge our need to seek Jesus’ forgiveness. Right now most people cannot get to Confession…but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare, first by putting down stones we are ready to throw in judgment of others, maybe even family members. Second, we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us a good look at our lives, then we can express our sorrow to God and tell Him how much we seek His forgiveness and that as soon as we can, that we’ll go to Confession.
My brothers and sisters, through God’s mercy He is just. For, He comes not just give us another chance but to help us to give witness to His message of hope, a message for all who are discouraged or even despairing. And, through our experience of God healing and guiding us we can shine the light of Christ into the darkest moments of people’s lives … and that’s what God calls each of us like Daniel to have the faith and courage to do, especially in the most difficult of times.
My brothers and sisters, may God bless you and your families this holy day!
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!