In the First Reading, Susanna was falsely accused of adultery because she would not give herself to her accusers. The second reading is about an unnamed woman whom the scribes and Pharisees cause in adultery. Both were brought by the leaders of their communities. The first one, out of their own lust, the second one, in obedience to the Law, or so it seems. We do not know their intent, but they did this, not because they wanted to obey the Law, but because they wanted to trap Jesus. Both cases have different motives, but both have the wrong motives.
While it is easy to blame these leaders, the first reading has a verse that points out why this happens to us, since this is human nature: They suppressed their consciences and turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven or remembering their duty to administer justice.
The writer gives three reasons why there is sin:
- Suppressed their consciences. Many today teach that we can do anything our conscience dictates. What they forget is what we can conclude from this verse: the conscience must be properly formed.
- Turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven. This tells us that a properly formed conscience is one that looks to God. It is one that realizes it is not his own thinking that matters, but what God says. It is the truth of God that matters. Here again, we have people say that there are many versions of truth. While one may have opinions of things, there is only one Truth: what Jesus taught to the Apostles and what they hand down through their successors, through centuries. What many teach today, that are contrary to the Apostolic tradition are opinions and these suppress the consciences of those who listen to them.
- Turn away from remembering their duty to administer justice. Many think justice is about following the laws of society. But justice is giving what is due, first of all, to God and this overflows to society. Justice is NOT just obeying civil laws because there are civil laws that are against nature and against God.
The Responsorial Psalm reminds us, though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me. This is the main purpose of a Christian: to walk through the darkness because God is with us. We do not choose our own way. We do not choose our own truth. We do not choose our own life. Instead, we choose Jesus, who is our Way, our Truth and our Life.
We pray that we may truly follow Jesus so we can form our conscience rightly by turning our eyes to him so we can give justice to him, who is worthy of worship and glory.