Daily Reflection
April 10th, 2000
Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Psalms 23:1-6
John 8:1-11

Light in the Dark Valley

When we read through the long and beautiful story of Susanna from the book of Daniel, followed by the brief but equally beautiful story of the woman caught in adultery (John’s gospel), we are struck by the amount of evil, deceit and sinister intentions that surround the human activity in these stories.  Susanna is surrounded by false accusers who are determined to “get to” her one way or another, as well as by a crowd which is all too willing to believe false testimony.  The woman of John’s gospel is surrounded by all-too-willing accusers, who would like to “get to” Jesus and trap him in his words.

This mass of darkness accumulated through the unlovely side of human nature reminds us of the painful truth of the darkness that surrounds us all and is found within us all.  Mixed motives, quick accusation, slowness to defend the innocent, and justice without mercy can be found anywhere—including within hearts that reside within Christian men and women.  The name “Christian” does not by itself remove from us the threat of evil from outside of us; we know, but fearfully know, that sometimes the name “Christian” actually increases our potential for becoming the target of evil.  The name “Christian” does not by itself automatically make us immune to allowing our own darkness to surface and to become the basis for our action or lack thereof.

In the darkness of these stories there is a piercing light which shines in the persons of Daniel, “the young boy” of the Susanna story and Jesus, in John’s gospel.  In his purity of heart Daniel sees through the false testimony and is willing to call the crowd to task for its hasty judgment.  Jesus’ purity of heart allows him to slip through the trap set by his enemies, sending them away while tending to the woman with a firm, but tender mercy.

“Though I walk through the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”  The words of this familiar psalm give expression to our experience of these two luminescent figures.  It is the presence of God, often mediated by those around us, that provides consolation in the face of darkness and evil.

Where have we felt surrounded by darkness from outside or from within?  How has the consoling light of God’s love come to us?  Who have been the bearers of God’s light for us? 

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook