I love the readings we have today! Susanna’s story is one of the most eloquent in the Old Testament Scriptures: in it we see the wisdom of the prophet Daniel, as well as the mercy and justice of God. This story is certainly echoed in our Gospel reading about the acquittal of the woman caught in adultery, although Susanna was actually innocent. In the Gospel reading, we see the wisdom of Jesus, brought about as it is with the mercy and justice of God. But sadly, we see in both stories also the fickleness of the human heart and the evil and treachery that makes up some of our darker moments.
To those who seek to pervert justice and to collude with others against some other person, these readings expose those evil thoughts and flood the darkness with the piercing light of God’s justice. No one has a right to judge others, especially when their own intentions are not pure. Only God can give real justice, just as only God brings ultimate mercy.
To those who are the victims of oppression, these readings give hope that God in his mercy will always walk with those who walk through the dark valley, and give to the downtrodden the salvation which they seek. God is ultimately very interested in the kind of justice that is characterized by right relationships with one another and with Him. It is the desire of God’s heart that this kind of justice would be tempered with mercy and would go out and lighten all the dark places of the earth.
Today we are called upon to right wrongs, to be completely honest and forthright in our dealings with others, to seek to purify our hearts of any wicked intent, and most of all to seek to restore right relationships with any person who has something against us, or against whom we have something. Our prayer this day is that God’s mercy and justice would reign, and that God’s kingdom would come about in all its fullness.