In today’s readings, the Lord reminds us that we can always trust His heart, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. In Daniel 13, Joakim’s wife, Susanna, is trapped by two elders who were supposed to be righteous men, but who had instead turned their hearts from the Lord to pursue their lustful desires.
Given a choice between falling into sin in order to save her reputation among the people of Babylon and possibly her own life, or rejecting sin and risking both her reputation and her life, she chooses to stay faithful to the Lord and avoid sin. However, Susanna’s righteous decision leads the two elders she’s rejected to smear her good name, accuse her of adultery, and call for her death as punishment.
How does she respond in the midst of this desperate situation? With fear? With doubt in the Lord’s ability to save her from such an unjust fate? No. Instead, Susanna “looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.” (Dn 13:35) Although it seems that everything and everyone is against her, Susanna chooses to trust that the Lord will fight for her when she can’t fight for herself. And that’s exactly what He does. With the help of a young Daniel, the two elders get caught in their own lies, and they end up receiving the just punishment that was once unjustly in store for a now vindicated Susanna.
Now, let’s take a look at today’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus announces, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12). Jesus has just saved a woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death, saying that the person without sin can cast the first stone. Just as He did with Susanna, the Lord saves this woman from a community that’s turned against her. However, whereas Susanna was falsely accused of adultery, this time, this woman brought to Jesus has indeed committed adultery. The accusations against Susanna were false.
The accusations against this woman are true. But the Lord’s response is unchanging. He protects this daughter He’s created from the evil in store for her. In Daniel, the Lord saved Susanna because it was what she deserved for acting justly. But here, Jesus has not saved this woman because she has acted justly, but instead, because His heart is full of mercy. He gives her a second chance at life, both spiritually and physically, because of His pure and deep love for her.
What is the difficult—and maybe seemingly impossible—circumstance you’re up against today, and how are you responding to it? Our Lord is the Lord of both the saint and the sinner, the weak and the strong. He doesn’t love, protect, or help us overcome our hardships because we deserve it. He rescues us from the darkness we may find ourselves in, whether it be a tough situation at work or at home or a spiritual temptation we may be fighting to overcome because He is the light of the world. Wherever He is, darkness cannot be. So no matter what we’re facing or how far we’ve fallen away from God’s grace, we can always trust in Him wholeheartedly. He will fight for us even when we can’t fight for ourselves, if only we surrender our own hearts to Him, saying “Jesus, I trust in You.”
Dana Catherine is a young, Catholic singer-songwriter and speaker from Raleigh, North Carolina who travels around the nation sharing her music and message of childlike trust and surrender with thousands of teens and young adults every year. Both of her albums, Glorious Horizons (2015) and Nothing in the World (2018) can be found everywhere music is sold.