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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Mar 30, 2009)
Readings: Dan 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41-62; Jn 8:1-11
"I am completely trapped," Susanna groaned. Dan 13:22
In today's first reading from the prophet Daniel, a virtuous and beautiful woman named Susanna is the epitome of the successful Jewish woman of her day. Raised according to the law of Moses by pious parents, she marries into great wealth and finds herself the mistress of a gorgeous home with maidservants to wait on her.
Yet, while she is quietly bathing in the privacy of her garden, her life is turned upside down. Two wicked, old men, perverted by lust, come out of hiding and try to seduce her. Susanna refuses their advances, whereupon they falsely accuse her of committing adultery, claiming they caught her in the act with a young man.
Before the people, the wicked men lie and testify against her. They hate her and want her dead because, unlike the other young women they have seduced, she has spurned them. Yet, after Susanna prays, God delivers her. He stirs the spirit of an honest boy named Daniel just as she is being led to her execution. Daniel helps the people to see the truth by interrogating the wicked men and tripping them up in their own lies. In the end, the virtuous Susanna is victorious, and the two wicked men are executed — sharing the same fate that they had planned for her.
False accusations, or even simple misunderstandings, can make us feel hemmed in. At such times, we are called, like Susanna, to remain firm in the truth and pray to the Lord for our ultimate vindication. We can rest in the assurance that just as the Lord raised up Daniel to defend Susanna, He has raised up a mighty Savior in Jesus to vindicate us.
O Lord, as You did with Susanna, grant me the strength to trust in You when I am falsely accused or misunderstood by others. I know that Jesus, who is Truth itself, will defend me in my hour of need. Amen.