The readings for today are stories – one from the Old Testament and one about Jesus, who loved to teach in parables. Jesus and Daniel both stand up to the powerful and challenge injustice – here specifically against women.
Susanna’s story is dramatic – she is a beautiful young married woman entrapped by two respected elders – exploiting their trust to get access to her and satisfy their lust. If she doesn’t comply, they will falsely accuse her of sinning with a young man.
Sadly, as often happens, the elders are trusted more than the young Susanna. She is condemned to death. In answer to her prayers, a young boy, Daniel, moved by the Spirit, defiantly cries out, despite possible reprisals, “I will have no part in the death of this woman.” His outburst and actions save Susanna’s life.
The gospel reading tells us how Jesus reacts to the Pharisees who are ready to stone a woman to death because she was caught in adultery. He does not scold them, but says: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one they fade away and Jesus asks, “Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?” She replies, “No-one sir.” Jesus wants to uphold and affirm her. He says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Our faith, moved by the Spirit, calls us to rise up and boldly challenge the glaring injustices we see, despite potential threats from those who hold the power.
“Our faith calls us to rise up and boldly challenge the glaring injustices we see #RiseUpLentClick to tweet
- What injustices do you witness in your own community?
- How can you rise up to challenge these “glaring injustices?”
- In what way might those in power threaten your work for justice?
Fr. Bill Ryan, S.J. has a PhD in economics from Harvard University. He was founding director of the Center of Concern in Washington, DC, provincial for the Jesuits in English Canada and general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is currently the Special Advisor of the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto.