Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The first reading and the Gospel both display stories regarding sexuality and mercy. The first reading provides the story and trial of two men’s lust over the God-fearing Susanna (Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62). The Gospel describes the scribes and Pharisee testing Jesus to see if He will condemn the woman caught in adultery (John 8:21-30). Yet, both women are spared due to the mercy of God, one through the words of the boy Daniel and the other by Jesus, himself. Furthermore, we also see Jesus demonstrate gentleness to the scribes and Pharisees; instead of becoming upset with these men by shouting, or yelling, or making a big deal, Jesus quietly bends down and writes in the sand. While it may be easy to focus on sins that bind our lives, we also have to remember that as Christians we also believe in a God who is willing to shower us with mercy and gentleness.
Today, we remember the founder of the Christian Brothers, John Baptist de la Salle, who was called to educate the poor who seemed so “far from salvation.” Renouncing his wealth, he and his companions sought to conduct gratuitous school to educate those who could not afford to attend school. To do this, they created a network of schools that sought to integrate religious instruction in with secular subjects, grouping students according to ability to better address their needs, and involving parents in their children’s’ education. He died in 1719 at the age of sixty-seven, and was proclaimed the patron of teachers in 1950.
We pray today for educators of children that they display to children (and adults) what gentleness and mercy is especially when others are attacking them.