Prayer Requests and Gratitudes

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Handiwork of the Devil

~~~ Deuteronomy 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 ~~~ 
~~~ Psalm 23 ~~~ John 8:1-11 ~~~

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; 
for you are at my side.

The two stories from these readings
 so beautifully complement one another.

The first reading features Susanna, 
who was wrongfully accused of adultery.
Her accusers were ready to pick up their stones 
and pummel her to death with them.

She was definitely plunged into the dark valley.
Two men came forward claiming they had seen 
her in the garden with another man. 
Ultimately they were proven to be lying
when questioned by Daniel
 by their own conflicting information.

If you decide to lie you risk the power of truth.
If you lie you eventually erode more
 and more good from your heart. 

These two accusers lost touch with how their lies 
would impact their own lives.
God came to the side of Susanna;
she was found innocent.

Deception is always the handiwork of the devil.
Deception by design masks truth and beauty.
Deception is like taking a black marker and scribbling
 on something that would otherwise be clear.

The gospel brings us the woman caught in adultery.
She is thrown down into the dirt right at the feet of Jesus.
These accusers claim to have caught her in the act.

While we know their goal was to trick Jesus
we do not know if they were hiding half of the truth.

What if they set up this woman?
Could they have paid a man to seduce her
for the prime purpose of catching her in the 'act'? 

Unlike Susanna this nameless woman
was brought directly to Jesus.
He was to be her judge.
He was the one who would pass the
judgement for her to be stoned.

Her accusers were not expecting Jesus
 to turn the tables on them.

Instead giving the green light for this poor woman
 to be stoned to death he writes in the sand.
Whatever Jesus wrote in the sand that day resulted
in the elders quickly and quietly turning away.

Suddenly they no longer wanted
to stick around for the customary stoning.

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; 
for you are at my side.

This woman too was walking in the dark valley.
She too feared for her life as she knelt in the dirt.
She trembled with anticipation of the
first stone to pelt her bare skin.

Instead she heard the voice of Jesus...
"Let the one among you who is without sin 
be the first to throw a stone at her."

Who among you is without sin?

As we approach Holy Week I invite you to take
one last examination of conscience.
Maybe you can hold a stone and meditate
on the words of Jesus from this Gospel.

Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more."

From now on do not sin any more...
it is never too late to begin again.
Jesus offers words of mercy and encouragement.

Jesus walks in the dark valley with you.
He is slow to anger abundant in grace.
You are never alone.


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