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Monday, March 23, 2015

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live - Daily Bible Readings March 23,2015

1ST READING
 
The story of Daniel saving Susanna’s life is reminiscent of many other people who were saved from injustices at the last moment. It reminds us to honor truth and to avoid lies and perjury because these can cost people their lives. It is important that Christians stand by and proclaim the dignity of life in order that the sin of abortion will not rest upon our shoulders because we remained silent.
 
Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 (or Daniel 13:41-62)
1[Dan 13:1] In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2[Dan 13:2] who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3[Dan 13:3] her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. 4[Dan13:4] Joakim was very rich; he had a garden near his house, and the Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all. 5[Dan 13:5] That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon: from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” 6[Dan13:6]These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. 7[Dan 13:7] When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. 8Dan 13:8When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. 9[Dan 13:9] They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 15[Dan13:15] One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only. She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm. 16[Dan 13:16Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17[Dan13:17] “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden doors while I bathe.” 19[Dan13:19]As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. 20[Dan13:20] “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21[Dan 13:21] If you refuse, we will testify against you that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.” 22[Dan13:22]“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23[Dan 13:23Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.” 24[Dan13:24Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her, 25[Dan13:25as one of them ran to open the garden doors. 26[Dan 13:26] When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27[Dan 13:27] At the accusations by the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna. 28[Dan13:28] When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked elders also came, fully determined toput Susanna to death. Before all the people they ordered: 29[Dan 13:29] “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30[Dan13:30she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 33[Dan 13:33] All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping. 34[Dan 13:34] In the midst of the people the two elders rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35[Dan 13:35] Through tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36[Dan13:36]The elders made this accusation: “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two girls and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls. 37[Dan13:37] A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38[Dan 13:38] When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime, we ran toward them. 39[Dan 13:39] We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the doors and ran off. 40[Dan 13:40] Then we seized her and asked who the young man was, 41[Dan 13:41] but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. 42[Dan 13:42] But Susanna cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43[Dan 13:43] you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” 44[Dan 13:44] The Lord heard her prayer. 45[Dan13:45] As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46[Dan 13:46] and he cried aloud: “I will have no part in the death of this woman.” 47[Dan 13:47] All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?” 48[Dan 13:48] He stood in their midst and continued, “Are you such fools, O children of Israel! To condemn a woman of Israel without examination and without clear evidence? 49[Dan13:49Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.” 50[Dan 13:50]Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51[Dan 13:51] But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another that I may examine them.” 52[Dan13:52] After they were separated one from the other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53[Dan 13:53] passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54[Dan 13:54]Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55[Dan13:55] “Under a mastic tree,” he answered. Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your 8 head,” for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two.” 56[Dan 13:56] Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. Daniel said to him, “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience. 57[Dan 13:57] This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness. 58[Dan 13:58]Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59[Dan 13:59] “Under an oak,” he said. Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head, for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both.” 60[Dan 13:60] The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him. 61[Dan 13:61] They rose up against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor: 62[Dan 13:62] they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.
 
P S A L M
 
 
Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
R: Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
 
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3 he refreshes my soul. (R) He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. (R) 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
 
At least, the people were truthful enough to admit they were sinners. I wonder what would have happened if Mary, the Mother of Jesus, had been in the crowd, but I am immediately reminded that she would not have been on such a crusade in the first place. Instead, she would do all she could do to help the girl in her terrible situation, not condemn her for it. Killing the sinner does not help them to a place of repentance and conversion.
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live.
 
 
John 8:1-11
1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 4 They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. 7 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
 
think: We need to honor truth and to avoid lies and perjury because these can cost people their lives.
 
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Genesis 47-50
 

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