Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

(Daniel 13:1-9.15-17.19-30.33-62; John 8:12-20)

The Book of the Prophet Daniel was written in the second century before Christ although its context is sixth century Babylonia.  The author is critiquing his own times when Judaism, even in Palestine, was giving way to Greek culture.  The turnaround is portrayed as a social condition so perverse that judges give false testimony.  However, God comes to the people’s rescue through Daniel.  By saving a woman from the wicked judges’ lies, the young prophet restores virtue to the nation.

In Christians’ eyes Daniel prefigures Christ.  In yesterday’s gospel, which in two out of three years is read today, Jesus also saves a woman from stoning.  But today’s passage, which immediately follows yesterday’s in the gospel of John, likewise complements the narrative from Daniel by presenting Jesus as the light of the world.  He brings justice to the people by illuminating the road of righteousness.  Those who follow him live virtuously.  All other ways lead to perdition.

The last two weeks of Lent were traditionally called “Passiontide.”  We are coming close to fateful Jesus entry into Jerusalem.  We too must take sides.  Will we follow his light, or will trod darker paths?  Our destinies are at stake.