“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil, for you are at my side.”
What do you think of as you hear these words from today’s Responsorial Psalm?
Trust and courage, two essential virtues, go hand in hand through today’s Responsorial Psalm, readings, and Gospel, which is rather a fitting theme as the dangers of COVID-19 still surround us.
Trust is complete surrender to the One who knows what the plan is, whereas courage is the guts to actually do it.
Courage, in its simplest form, is the guts to trust in the Lord, the one who holds everything in the palm of his hand. In the readings today we have examples of two women who display both of these virtues.
In the First Reading, we read about a young woman named Susanna, who was unjustly accused of adultery. Susanna, as we all know, was completely innocent of this crime, but notice that she does nothing to contradict the elders who accused her, save pray to God.
“Here I am about to die, though I have done none of these things which these wicked men have charged against me.” She does not even ask to be spared from execution, she trusts the Lord completely, that only his will will come to pass, even if it results in her death.
Trust. She trusts that the Lord’s plan will shine through in the end, and so she is not afraid. She is brave in the midst of dangers because she knows that “You are at my side.”
In the Gospel, again, we come across a woman accused of committing adultery. She, too, was to be sentenced to death (though the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into condemning her, which, of course did not work). For a second time we see men testify to a crime with little to no evidence as proof.
Jesus is not a man to be taken lightly in the matters of condemning someone. He is also not a man to be tricked into condemning someone. Notice that this woman, too, does not say a single thing except answering Jesus. “No one, sir.”
Like Susanna, she did not ask for pardon. She does not blurt out her story, or even demand to be heard. I wonder if she was praying. Jesus ultimately saw in her something that the Pharisees missed: courage and trust. The woman, silent yet brave, trusted completely. That is why she stayed silent. It was not that she did not value her life, it was because she knew that God was in control. She did not have to speak to be saved. Courage does not need words; neither does trust.
Both women had courage, they both trusted in the Lord, and as a result they were delivered from death.
“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil, for you are at my side.” These words are very true, as outlined in the readings of today. Be brave. Trust in the Lord. And above all, do not fear any evil, for he is at your side.
Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.
Feature Image Credit: Exe Lobaiza, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/3758-mujer-contemplando