Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent
God has a funny sense of justice. In the first reading, we see Susannah, falsely accused of adultery by men who were trying to blackmail her into infidelity. In the gospel, Jesus is shown a woman who was caught “in the very act of adultery.” Susannah is vindicated by God, and she goes free. The woman in the gospel is forgiven by Jesus, and is likewise able to go free, spared the penalty of death. Two people: one innocent, one guilty, both allowed to live.
Usually, we think of this as God “fudging” justice, or tempering His justice with mercy. But what if this actually is God’s justice at work? Our natural inclination is that if someone has done something wrong, they ought to be punished. No one says “so-and-so should be brought to justice!” and means “give that person a medal!” But God’s justice does not ignore our sins–it forgives them. We were made for innocence–that is what we should have, above all. God’s justice restores the innocence we were made to have, but threw away, and treats us accordingly.