Dealing with Lust – Monday, 5th Week of Lent – Daniel 13:1-9, 15, 17-30, 33- 62/ John 8:1-11

Dealing with Lust – Monday, 5th Week of Lent – Daniel 13:1-9, 15, 17-30, 33- 62/ John 8:1-11

Read also which is a reflection on the Gospel of today.

The last two chapters of the Book of Daniel are not part of the Jewish canon of Scripture. The short stories in these two chapters may have originally been about some other Daniel or Daniels, different from the hero of the main part of the book. The texts exist now only in Greek, but probably were first composed in Hebrew or Aramaic. They do not appear in non-Catholic bibles, but the Catholic Church has always included them among the inspired writings.

They contain two famous stories, one of Susanna, who was falsely accused of adultery, and the other of the events which led to Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den.

Susanna’s situation needs a little explanation. It is about two lecherous men and an innocent married woman (Susanna) who is led into a clever trap from which there seems no escape. However, the woman defends her integrity at the risk of being falsely accused of being unfaithful to her husband, and in a society that was even less forgiving in these matters than our own. In fact, the whole community, after hearing the evidence from the two men, was ready to stone her for her adultery and indicated this by laying their hands on the woman’s head.

She would certainly have been executed by stoning if the “young boy Daniel” had not come on the scene. The rest of the story is a description of his integrity, his sense of justice and insight. Through his clever and separate examination of the woman’s accusers, he proves them liars and the sharp contrast between the two trees mentioned; one being quite small and the other very tall and majestic, only made clearer the inconsistency of the two men’s evidence. According to the law, they end up receiving the punishment originally intended for the woman.

The focus of this long and dramatic story is really on Daniel, on his perception and wisdom, and on him as a champion of justice. But, in today’s liturgy, it leads by way of contrast to another and very different case of adultery. A situation where the woman is clearly guilty, and yet wins Jesus’ total forgiveness.

Adultery is a very common theme that runs through many stories in the Bible, as well as the fatal punishment meted out. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbids adultery absolutely. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines grave matter: Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour your father and your mother.”

The number one reason why people cheat is a lack of connection in the relationship. Most people do not realize how important creating, maintaining, and nurturing a connection in a relationship is. The unfaithful spouse must be willing to stop the affair, provide all details honestly and completely, and take the steps necessary to prove his or her trustworthiness. A Catholic spouse who engages in adultery must throw themselves at the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and seek spiritual advice.

The good news is that restoring a marriage after an affair is possible, with God’s help. In fact, not only can your marriage survive an affair, but your marriage can become even stronger than it was before the crisis. “Nothing is impossible with God,” (Luke 1:37).

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