Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent, April 3, 2017
Tara Hart

Scripture for the Day

When reading Susanna’s story, I am pained by her vulnerability to the elders who would misuse their power. She sees the situation clearly at once: “I am completely trapped,” she groans. How often do we feel that speaking an inconvenient truth makes us vulnerable to the judgment of our community, while, on the other hand, keeping silent condemns us to betraying our own beliefs and values? I admire her strong choice to stay true to the Lord and maintain her integrity, even as she accepts that only she and God will know her truth. Her story ends well, for God stirs Daniel’s spirit to defend her. But I would like to learn from Susanna, who does not see a way out of her predicament; I would cultivate that strength to accept that a life lived in accordance with one’s own values is worth much more than the vagaries and possible injustice of public opinion, to hold fast to that, and perhaps even to hope for support from an unexpected quarter while accepting that it may not come.

Then, in this week’s gospel, circumstances turn us into those who are in a position to judge. Can I cultivate Jesus’ strength in withholding judgment? He too shows how to hold fast to oneself and to God when the crowd calls for punishment: “I know where I have come from and where I am going…I judge no one.”

It takes courage in those moments to transcend the pressure of crowds, systems of power, and public opinion, to have faith in ourselves and in God to see us through when we feel trapped and can see nothing but darkness ahead. This helps me understand better the comforts of Psalm 23: “Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

 

Last Published: March 27, 2017 5:13 PM