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 people’s desertion of Judaism for the pagan cult of Palestine’s occupiers. The abandonment of Jewish Law is portrayed as so perverse that even judges are willing to 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. Today’s passage shows Jesus as likewise saving a woman from being stoned to death. However, his virtue runs even deeper than Daniel’s. Where Daniel delivered a righteous woman from her persecutors, Jesus treats even a guilty person with mercy. Those who follow him will strive to show a similar compassion. Parting from him will only lead down the road to one’s being harshly judged.
We are approaching the commemoration of Jesus' fateful entry into Jerusalem. We must choose which way we will go. Will we follow Jesus, the light of the world, to divine mercy? Or will we trod darker paths to our eventual condemnation?