|(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
If there is one Scripture passage that we defense lawyers should especially appreciate, it has to be today’s first reading (Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62).
The case against Susanna was open and shut. All seemed hopeless. There were two eye witnesses – and they were judges and well-known leaders of the community to boot! How could anyone credit the adulteress’ self-serving denial? No one did, save for Daniel.
He knew that things are not always as they appear. Daniel was unwilling to ignore a lifetime of virtuous living by this fine woman and “rush to judgment”. He trusted that God would show him the way to expose the perjured testimony of these two lecherous old men. God did not disappoint!
What lawyer hasn’t dreamed of so dramatically exposing the lies of witnesses as Daniel so skillfully did as recounted in today’s first reading? Even Perry Mason would be in awe of his approach and skill!
But there is much more to reflect upon other than Daniel’s text-book strategy and perfect cross-examination.
Let me warn you. By doing so, we might find ourselves becoming a bit uncomfortable.
How often have we treated others unjustly?
How many times have we rushed to judgment about the reported conduct of others?
How often have we convinced ourselves of someone’s guilt, not based on our own personal knowledge of the facts, but because of the position of the people who levied the accusations in the first place?
How many times have we remained silent in the face of obvious injustice for fear of offending those in power?
How many of us would follow Susanna’s example and accept an unjust physical death in order to preserve our eternal life?
I could go on but I have made my point.
It took courage for Daniel to do what he did.
It took courage for Susanna to protect her soul rather than her physical life.
It will take courage for each of us to stand up against the powerful and fight for justice.
It will take great faith and trust in God to suffer in this world in order to have glory in the next.
Are we ready to pray for such courage and such grace?