In our gripping and dramatic reading from the Book of Daniel we hear once again the story of how evil ones try to corrupt the true beauty and innocence found in another. Susanna is trapped by the lechery and lust the two wicked elders who will stop at nothing to have their way. Surely she felt bewildered and utterly powerless at the hands of two men so blinded by their own desires. Yet, how rewarded we feel as the tale unfolds and, through the wisdom of Daniel himself, those who were trapping innocent Susanna were themselves trapped by their own lies and darkness. How right it all feels to see darkness and evil banished and those who live in the light vindicated and restored to wholeness and integrity.
Surely we feel the same gladness and joy when we hear the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” If we identified with beloved Susanna in the reading from the Book of Daniel, we will feel the same sense of confidence and trust as we listen to Jesus tell us that if we follow him we will not walk in darkness but in light, bright, brilliant light that is the ‘light of life.’
I don’t know how the world looks to you these days. By nature and personality I, myself, am not one given over to pessimism or even to the throws of discouragement by events unfolding around me at times. On the contrary, I usually see the positive and the best in things. Yet, today with so many inhumane forces at work what a blessing to be reminded that the pure and innocent will be vindicated and that all those who walk closely with Jesus, our Lord, will not be overcome by darkness but will know the joy and the beauty of the light! Readings such as these given to us today help to prepare our way through Lent and on into the profound mystery of the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus celebrated in the glorious Easter Season!
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P., is the director of Saint Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.