Father David's Reflection for Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent
The Responsorial Psalm assures us that God is always present to help and protect us, even when things
seem most dark: "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side" (Psalm 23).
In Daniel 13:1-62 it seemed evident that no one could save Susanna. Two "elders of the people" who held the high rank of judges had testified against her and there were no witnesses for the defense. She was on the way to execution.
Then God "stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel." He cried out, "I will have no part in the death of this woman." And God gave him the astuteness to prove that the elders were lying.
Often we feel that in our society we are walking in a "dark valley." All around us we see lies and deception, from the false priorities pushed in commercials to the "spin" and cover-ups we take for granted in government officials. We can't even trust the news anchors to tell us what is really happening in the world. What chance does the truth have of coming to light when those with money and power are committed to concealing it?
Our hope is in the Holy Spirit, who can "stir up" the most unlikely people to stand up and say, "I will have no part in this!" All it takes is for people to be attentive to God speaking in their hearts. To cultivate this attentiveness is discipleship.
Daniel was able to save Susanna by working within existing Jewish law, which imposed the death penalty for adultery. But in Luke 8:1-11 we see Jesus saving a woman by setting aside the Jewish law, a law God himself had given them (Leviticus 20:10). How do we explain this?
God taught his people gradually. While they were still immersed in their primitive insistence on revenge, he allowed the death penalty because they could not have understood or accepted God's own attitude toward life, death and forgiveness. But with Jesus revelation was brought to fullness. "Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son... the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being" (Hebrews 1: 1-3). Jesus said, "I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you every- thing that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:15). This raises discipleship to a new plane: learning to live on the level of God himself.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Open your heart to divine truth. Let God take you beyond human feelings, assumptions and arguments. Listen to God.