Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
Lenten reflection March 18th: Light of the World
We do not have all the facts. Often, for example, we do not know the answers on an exam; we do not know when (or how) we are going to pay off college loans; we are afraid of our post-grad future; we do not take risks because we do not want to lose money or relationships or reputations. Intelligent as we are, darkness inhibits us in many ways. As Jesus states in today’s Gospel, we cannot know where we are going, only God can know. We judge others out of protection from the unknown. Often we don’t take those small steps towards better relationships or better lifestyle choices because of fear and because of judgements. But Jesus states in the Gospel, “I am the light of the world!…If you know me, you would know my Father.” This is good news for us, especially during Lent, because as human beings, become entrenched in our own darkness. In this passage, Jesus offers clarity and solidarity, a fresh start to become reborn or reacquainted with God.
In the Old Testament reading for today, Suzanna is wrongly accused of having slept with a man in her husband’s garden, while two judges watched from a distance. The judges lie about the event because Suzanna did not pursue their lustful intentions toward her. They testify against her and attempt to have her killed. Due to her continuous faith and her reliance on God during her time of trouble, God listens and inspires Daniel to speak in court on her behalf. Historically, for Daniel to stand up for Suzanna required a tremendous amount of fortitude and prudence. He struck down the judges and called out their deceit.
In light of International Women’s Day on March 8th, I noticed two relating themes from this Old Testament reading: feminism and truthfulness. After reading the passage, this might be counterintuitive; however, Suzanna shows strength only a woman historically could in her situation. She shows unwavering faith in the Lord that is both admirable and liberating. Moreover, Daniel is a symbol for those with power, not just the historically patriarchal societies, to stand up for the powerless and to exemplify the great need society has for wise leadership. In the text, he and Suzanna are feminists as well as liberators, showing others in power how to know truth and to seek justice by liberating the powerless.
In light of these readings during the Lenten season, develop an openness to others; identify your fears and your sins. Ask yourself, how can I learn to forgive and accept the truth? How can I live out the virtues of prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice? How can I exercise my voice for the powerless in society?
Pray for greater leadership in our society and in the new leadership within the Catholic Church.
Pray for the empowerment and equality of all minorities.
Pray for better introspection and external awareness of God’s call to you.
Hopefully, during this week of Lent, you can be strengthened and reaffirmed in your Lenten promise, bringing you closer to Jesus, who is the light of the world.
Gretchen Landgraf is a Junior majoring in Theology and Pre-Med.