April 3, 2017

April 3

April 3, 2017:  Monday, 5th week, Lent

See 20 connections with today?
Legend below

Listen
For Psalm 23
Mastic tree
Read
    Oak tree
  • Dn 13:1-19, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62  Two wicked elders lusted for Susanna, hurried to her when she was alone bathing, and threatened to testify against her if she didn't lie with them.  She shrieked, people rushed in and heard and believed the accusation, condemned her, she cried to God, and God stirred Daniel:  “Don't condemn her without examination or evidence.  Return to court; they testified falsely.”  All returned.  “Separate the two.”  He asked each what tree she was under, their answers differed, the assembly put them to death, sparing Susanna's innocent blood.
  • Ps 23:1-6  "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side."  The Lord is my shepherd; he gives me repose, guides me, gives me courage...  Only goodness and kindness follow me, and I'll dwell with the Lord.
  • Jn 8:1-11  The scribes and Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in adultery:  Moses commanded us to stone such women.  What do you say?”  Jesus wrote on the ground with his finger, but when they persisted, he said, “Let the one without sin be the first to throw a stone” and kept writing; they went away.  Once he was alone with her:  Has no one condemned you?” / “No one.” / “Neither do I.  Go, and sin no more.”

Reflect
    • Creighton:  “Lies and deceptions”:  Both readings represent reprehensible behavior of people up to no good, and both have whistleblowers who call the offensive actions for what they are and prevent further harm.  Daniel confronts the mob intent on harming Susanna further; Jesus shows the proper relationship with sin and sinners in an unusual way.  Jesus’ message is that we should leave judgment to God; he dramatizes it by kneeling and writing on the ground.  Whatever he wrote, it quieted the mob, and no one carried out the violence they intended.  They understood, "Let the one without sin cast the first stone,"  We sinners have no right to judge others; we need to leave judgment to our loving God and trust in God’s care for us and other sinners.
    We're called to treat others as sacred.  The “elders” saw Susanna only as an object of their lust, but Daniel saved the day by calling them to account.   May we have the courage to stand up to evil, like Daniel, and to love and care for sinners while avoiding sin, like Jesus.  Both are difficult, requiring God's strength.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Bath and body":  The 1st reading is both a story of good triumphing over evil and an Old Testament preview of Baptism. When Susanna enters her bath, she's surrounded by evil, represented by the two elders.  She's in a dilemma of whether to save her life by yielding, or to remain holy and lose her life.  She rises from her bath determined to trust God:  "Better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord."  She rose from the waters free, pure, and victorious. At our baptism we emerge from the waters redeemed.  Those of us baptized as infants don't remember the event, but the Church calls us to renew our baptismal promises, keeping our baptism alive and challenging us live out our baptism.  When we renew our baptism on Easter, may we recommit ourselves to entrust our life to the Lord as Susanna did....
    • Passionist:  We all throw stones and judge others.  Rather than judging and gossiping about them, let’s pray for them and ask God to show us how to love them.  We all need God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness and can experience it through another person.  Lord, forgive us when we judge others; help us to see others with your eyes of compassion.
      Christ and the adulterous woman/ Van Lint
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Go, and don't sin again":  Susanna was unjustly accused of adultery by two elders who had tried to seduce her.  Since adultery was punishable by stoning, two witnesses were required for conviction.  Susanna knew the Lord's intervention was her only hope; she cried to God for help, while the wicked elders did the opposite, hiding from God and hiding their sin from the people.  They falsely accused Susanna in revenge for her refusal to sin with them, but God heard her plea and punished them.
    Jesus often faced unjust accusations from the Pharisees, Israel's ruling elders, who, upset with his teaching, wanted to discredit, silence, and get rid of him.  They brought him a woman caught in adultery to "test" him about retribution to " have a charge to bring against him."  Adultery, a crime that violated God's law and wreaked havoc on marriage and family life, was punishable by death.  If Jesus said the woman must be pardoned, he'd be accused of breaking the law; if he said she must be stoned, he'd lose his reputation for mercy.  But Jesus writes in the sand; the word for 'writing' here literally means "write down a record against someone" (see Job 13:26).  Was he listing the accusers' sins?  Then he leaves the matter to them:  "Let him without sin cast the first stone."  When the woman is left alone with Jesus, he expresses mercy and exhorts her to not sin again.  The scribes wanted to condemn; he wanted to forgive and restore her.  He gave her a choice to go back to her former way or to accept God's offer of forgiveness, restoration, and new life.  God's grace enables us to confront our sin for what it is and turn back to God with repentance and thanks.
    Dress legend
    • 'Heart' pin:  Susanna trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly (1st reading); Jesus' merciful love for the woman caught in adultery (gospel)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  "Let him without sin cast the first stone" (gospel)
    • 'Plant' pin:  Joakim had a garden (1st reading)
    • 'Hands' pin:  The two elders laid their hands on Susanna's head (1st reading); Jesus wrote on the ground with his finger (gospel)
    • 'Scales of justice' tie:  "You judge my appearance" (gospel); Two wicked judges... (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Two wicked judges wouldn't allow their eyes to look to heaven instead of Susanna; Susanna looked to heaven (1st reading)
      • 'Tree' pin:  Wicked elders' testimonies differed about the kind of tree (1st reading)
      • 'Headless skeleton' tie pin:  "Your fine lie has cost you your head" (1st reading)
      • 'Angel' pin:  Angel of God shall receive your sentence (1st reading)
      • 'Sword' tie pin:  Angel of God waits with a sword (1st reading) 
      • 'Blood drop' pin:  Innocent blood was spared (1st reading)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  The Lord is my shepherd (psalm)
      • Blue and green in shirt:  Susanna's bath (1st reading); verdant pastures and restful waters (psalm)
        • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season
        • Waze app on phone (not visible):  He guides me in right paths (psalm)