Monday 5th Week of Lent

Two women, two charges of adultery. Today’s readings consist of familiar stories—Susannah (from the book Daniel) who is wrongfully charged, and the un-named woman caught in adultery (from John’s Gospel). In each case, the worst was believed. Do I do that? Do I immediately assume guilt because it is easier than finding the truth or because it makes a better story to repeat? How many reputations have I helped to kill by repeating what I heard without checking first? Jesus reminds me that since I am not sinless, I should not condemn. If I put myself in the women’s situation, wouldn’t I want someone to stand up for me and tell the truth? Yes, I would. Daniel had the courage to not remain quiet, and to test the facts. The crowd gathered around Jesus and the woman melt way, dropping the stones they wanted to hurl at her when confronted with their own sinfulness. I need to drop my stones, too, and speak out about injustice. Words, or silence, can kill as surely as stones—they just leaves no outward scars.

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