The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 5:44:38

Attention to the individual need

Katie van Schaijik, Mar 14, 2016

From the introduction to this morning's psalm in Magnificat:

Yesterday and today, the Mass readings remind us of two women accused of adultery: Susanna, the innocent, and the nameless woman, guilty, brought before Jesus. We might think of them as representing the two faces of God's people: innocent and guilty. The Lord hears not their deeds, but their plight, and rescues them from their accusers.

What stood out to me was that last line: The Lord hears not their deeds, but their plight.

There is no conflating of guilt and innocence here—as if what actually happened and who's responsible for it doesn't matter to God. On the contrary, Susannah's plight has everything to do with the fact that she is an upright woman molested and then falsely accused by wicked, powerful men.

The plight of the woman caught in adultery, on the other hand, has everything to do with the fact that she's actually guilty of a capital crime against the Law of Moses. 

In both cases, the woman is in anguish, and in need of a Savior. And the Lord is attentive to the specific need of each—of vindication for the one and mercy for the other. 

It's a good thought and rule of thumb for the Year of Mercy especially: look not to the deeds as much as to the person and her particular plight, whatever it may be.