Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent Readings may be found here
The lengthy passage today from the Book of Daniel relates a very dramatic moment of peril and deliverance. We hear the lengthy account of the false accusations made against Susanna and the subsequent trial. Thanks be to the intervention of God through the Prophet Daniel, Susanna is saved from death and her dishonest accusers suffer the fate they intended for her.
In the passage from John, we have a shorter but no less dramatic saving intervention. In this case a woman is brought before Jesus accused of adultery. Notice that her accusers allege that she was caught in the very act and yet there is no sign that they have seized her partner in the sin. And we are told that their real purpose is to use this accusation against her to "test" Him and find some grounds to accuse Him of wrongdoing. Happily, Jesus easily outwits His opponents in their foolish plot. He also provides a remarkable example of compassion and understanding. The crowd saw a woman they could use for their own ends, Jesus sees her. He has delivered her from deadly danger on the part of the crowd and now with tenderness, He delivers her from the power of sin.
Much and terrible human sin occurs when people use people, make them objects of desire, exploitation, or abuse. In these two passages and the use of Psalm 23 between them, we are reminded of the compassion of the Lord. The Lord sees us, sees our hearts, and wills only healing, mercy, and deliverance for us. We are not the means to the Lord's ends, He serves our good with tender love for us as persons, not objects. The Lord never objectifies and if we wish to live in right relationship with God and neighbor we would do best to avoid the temptation ourselves.