Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Malvern Minute


Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 22, 2021

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, PA

Book of the Prophet Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

John 8:1-11


            Today’s readings seem to be about justice, imperfect judgments, and trusting God’s loving kindness.  They speak in answer to the sadness and anger in our world today.  The list, in many ways, is endless.  As a result I have been reading about the “spirituality of imperfection,” and trying to pray over my own errors of judgment.  This includes noticing the splinter in a person’s eye and disregarding the beam in my own eye.   Our readings give us stories that, like all good stories, help us to know God’s love for our imperfect selves.

            First, we have the reading from Daniel.  This long narrative reads like an enjoyable detective story, with Daniel as an early entry in a long list of detectives in popular culture.  Aside from the good plot, the story tells us about the innocent Susanna’s appeal to God, and what strikes me in this time of trouble is how happy the whole assembly is to know the truth.  So then, we welcome that justice was done and the truth discovered.  It is not only Susanna who is saved; we who know our limitations and “spiritual imperfections” are saved as well.

            Next, the beautiful 23rd Psalm has us sing about our trust in God, our Good Shepherd, and our wise Leader, who saves us from taking the wrong path and preserves us from danger.

            In our Gospel narrative of Saint John, we hear again this story of the woman found in adultery, and this time, the woman is guilty as charged.  She has been dragged in front of Jesus as the educated community leaders want to “have some charge to bring against Him.”  A tool of the scribes and Pharisees, a condemned criminal on the equivalent of death row, she doesn’t ask for forgiveness because it is something that she did not expect.  However, Jesus quietly reminds those educated community leaders that each of them is imperfect.  I suspect that they simply bowed their heads and walked away littering the ground with the stones they had in their hands. 

            We do not know what happens to the woman.  She may have felt hatred, anger, fear, anxiety and hostility; she might have even blamed her partner in sin.  We can only hope that after our Lord’s kindness to her ends, and after amending her life, the woman herself may have “heard” Jesus, recognized His wisdom and loving kindness, and prayed for forgiveness.  And so, we are saved!

Question of the Day:  Where have we felt surrounded by darkness from outside or from within?  How has the consoling light of God’s love come to us?

Prayer:  “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.”  Psalm 23.


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