READINGS for 2009-03-30

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“Has no one condemned you?”….“Neither do I condemn you.” – John 8:10, 11
I received a Powerpoint file in my email that started with stories of people who met dire consequences because they didn’t forward a poem. Then the writer continued and closed with an exhortation on how we should take every opportunity to love. A friend asked what I thought about the chain letter and I replied, “If lightning would strike me every time I fail to love, I would have been dead a long time ago.”
“God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; for that reason he forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone” (Gaudium et Spes 28:2). It’s easy to ask others to be loving yet fail to do so ourselves. As I have slowly learned of my own weakness, I’ve become more lenient of others — not to judge them as harshly as I would like to do.
If Jesus didn’t condemn the woman in our Gospel today — and He was the only one who has the right to do so — who are we to say otherwise? Ours is to follow His final exhortation, “Sin no more.”Joy Sosoban
Do I have the tendency to be self-righteous?
Grant me, O Lord, Your merciful heart.


Daniel saves the life of Susanna through a very simple means of interrogation. I think it is interesting to reflect upon the punishment of death for the two who lied in seeking to destroy her. The Church does not advocate capital punishment as a means of punishment for any sin. Here we see the society of the time meting out death to these two men as this is the price Susanna would have if their lies had held true. I think we should reflect carefully upon the seriousness of the nature of any sin. Perhaps it will help us when we are next tempted?
Daniel 13:1-9. 15-17. 19-30. 33-62 (or Daniel 13: 41c-62)
1 [Dan 13:1] In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 [Dan 13:2] who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 [Dan 13:3] her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. 4 [Dan 13:4] Joakim was very rich; he had a garden near his house, and the Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all. 5 [Dan 13:5] That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, Wickedness has come out of Babylon: from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” 6 [Dan 13:6] These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. 7 [Dan 13:7] When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. 8 [Dan 13:8] When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. 9 [Dan 13:9] They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 15 [Dan 13:15] One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only. She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm. 16 [Dan 13:16] Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 [Dan 13:17] “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden doors while I bathe.” 19 [Dan 13:19] As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. 20 [Dan 13:20] “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 [Dan 13:21] If you refuse, we will testify against you that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.” 22 [Dan 13:22] “I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 [Dan 13:23] Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.” 24 [Dan 13:24] Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her, 25 [Dan 13:25] as one of them ran to open the garden doors. 26 [Dan 13:26] When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 [Dan 13:27] At the accusations by the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna. 28 [Dan 13:28] When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked elders also came, fully determined to put Susanna to death. Before all the people they ordered: 29 [Dan 13:29] “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30 [Dan 13:30] she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 33 [Dan 13:33] All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping. 34 [Dan 13:34] In the midst of the people the two elders rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 [Dan 13:35] Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 [Dan 13:36] The elders made this accusation: “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two girls and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls. 37 [Dan 13:37] A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 [Dan 13:38] When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime, we ran toward them. 39 [Dan 13:39] We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the doors and ran off. 40 [Dan 13:40] Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 [Dan 13:41] but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. 42 [Dan 13:42] But Susanna cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43 [Dan 13:43] you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” 44 [Dan 13:44] The Lord heard her prayer. 45 [Dan 13:45] As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 [Dan 13:46] and he cried aloud: “I will have no part in the death of this woman.” 47 [Dan 13:47] All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?” 48 [Dan 13:48] He stood in their midst and continued, “Are you such fools, O Israelites! To condemn a woman of Israel without examination and without clear evidence? 49 [Dan 13:49] Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.” 50 [Dan 13:50] Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51 [Dan 13:51] But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another that I may examine them.” 52 [Dan 13:52] After they were separated one from the other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 [Dan 13:53] passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54 [Dan 13:54] Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55 [Dan 13:55] “Under a mastic tree,” he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two.” 56 [Dan 13:56] Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience. 57 [Dan 13:57] This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness. 58 [Dan 13:58] Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59 [Dan 13:59] “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both.” 60 [Dan 13:60] The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those that hope in him. 61 [Dan 13:61] They rose up against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor: 62 [Dan 13:62] they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.
Psalm 23:1-3a. 3b-4. 5. 6
R: Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3 he refreshes my soul. (R) He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. (R) 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. (R)
Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery that her sins are forgiven and that she should sin no more. It is important that we recognize that a necessary aspect of repentance is the resolution to avoid the sin in the future. This is not to say that we will not or cannot commit the same sin again, but to say that having committed it once we are now aware of its horror and consequences, and thus will do all we can to avoid it in the future.
John 8:1-11
1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 4 They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. 7 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Genesis 13-16
my reflections
think:It is important that we recognize that a necessary aspect of repentance is the resolution to avoid the sin in the future.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


Tolerance, inTolerance
 “Let the one among you who is ithout sin be the first to throw stone on her.”
Jesus manifested great compassion towards the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel. In the classic Christian writings, this scene has often been described as Mercy meeting Misery. It is comforting to know that Jesus only has mercy towards us sinners. Condemnation is alien to the heart of Jesus. But let us note that in dispensing mercy, Jesus highlighted a crucial distinction. He does not condemn the sinner, but He condemns the sin. Verse 11 of the Gospel has Jesus reminding the woman, “Go and sin no more.”
Today we notice a modern attitude which is actually a misinterpretation of this Gospel episode. We see today our unwillingness to correct evil and wrongdoing. Not wanting to be labeled judgmental, we shy away from legitimate occasions of fraternal correction. This is far from the spirit of the Gospel. We are to be tolerant of the person but never of the sin. Sometimes we become tolerant both of the person and the sin. The other word for this attitude is indifference. The opposite is just as wrong. We can become intolerant of both the sin and the sinner. The other word for this is extremism.
In showing mercy to the woman caught in adultery, Jesus was far from being indifferent to any wrongdoing. Never in the Gospel do we find Jesus also going to the side of extremism. Today, let us examine ourselves. In what situations do I find myself uninvolved to the point of indifference? In what situations do I find myself too aggressive as to be extreme? Let us allow the virtue of Christ to guide us into integration. Fr. Joel O. Jason
Reflection Question:
Have there been times that I cower into indifference? In what situations do I find myself too aggressive as to be self-righteous?
Lord, make me an ardent but gentle proclaimer of Your Gospel. Amen.
St. Osburga, Virgin, pray for us.

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