Click HERE for the readings.
If ever you think that the Bible is dull and dry, read the first reading again. It is the story of Susanna: a story of lust, corruption, deceit, the near execution of an innocent woman, her prayer to God, and justice finally served. Two old men had falsely accused Susanna of adultery – but their evil intentions were exposed by God, working through the prophet Daniel.
Now, we come to the Gospel and another woman accused of adultery. This time, it is not a false accusation, but the men accusing her are using her unfortunate situation as a trap for Jesus. Would he condemn her, as the law required, and call for her death? Of course, we know that he did not. Jesus had compassion on the woman because she was a sinner – and he had come to call sinners. But, regarding her self-righteous accusers, Jesus began to reveal what was hidden in their hearts, just as God had done to the men accusing Susanna. As Jesus was writing on the ground, most likely listing the sins that the men preferred to conceal, they began to walk away one by one.
We can read this in several ways. One way is to reflect on those times when we were accused, sometimes falsely, by others. How hurtful that was. But we can also reflect on those times when we accused others for less than noble reasons, and often before accusing ourselves of any wrongdoing. Jesus writes all of the sins of our past and present in the sand. We should be humbled by the Lord who knows everything about us. Remember that all of us are dust, and unto dust, all of us shall return. The more forgiveness we show, the more we shall receive.