Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
DN 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 OR 13:41C-62/JN 8:1-11
As of this writing, we are living with great concern about the unknown outcome of our own and our country’s health situation. It is a time of darkness and uncertainty, a time when our faith calls us to trust in the Lord more intensely than ever. Today’s Psalm 23 conveys the feeling: “Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil, for you are at my side.” Where do we find ourselves, with fear or with hope and trust in God?
In the first reading we meet Susanna, who is characterized as virtuous and God-fearing. She trusted in the Lord whole-heartedly. Yet she is understandably distraught when she is trapped by lying Judges, so she calls out confidently to God. Her prayer is heard and with that “The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him.”
The sinful, desperate woman caught in adultery seems to have no chance of avoiding the judgment of those who were about to stone her to death. She was deep in a dark valley with no reason for hope and little awareness of the Lord who was about to save her. Jesus confronted the crowd, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” With that they all left, and Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
It is reasonable for us to feel fear in this time of insecurity, but our faith calls us to hope in the Lord. It invites us to reach out to those in our community who may need a word of encouragement, who may appreciate a phone call, or who long for an offer to provide for a need they cannot meet. It calls each of us to contribute to the common good. Psalm 86:7 captures the meaning of trust in God in the midst of fear: "In the day of distress, I will call to you, Lord, and surely you will answer me.”
Sister Katarina Schuth, O.S.F.