“Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.”

These are words from today’s First Reading, a selection of verses from Deuteronomy. The “she” is Susanna, the beautiful and Godly wife of Joakim. Susanna was falsely accused of infidelity by two of the elders and taken to trial. If found guilty, she faced death. There were no witnesses, no one to speak on her behalf; she was innocent, but had no way to prove it. Her accusers were far more powerful, far more “connected” than she was – she didn’t stand a chance. Or so it seemed.

She knew that God knew the truth and so she turned to him in wholehearted trust. Her prayer is so humble, so child-like that perhaps we all should meditate on it:

“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

I dare say we have all been in such a situation at least once in our lives and likely many times. Misunderstandings, false accusations, lies, defamation of character, jealousy, prejudice, judgmentalism… We face these over and over again in various ways. How do we react? If you’re like me, your initial reaction is anger, then pain, then bitterness. Not Susanna. She turned to God in her distress and begged for his intervention, and he gave it. He saved her from shame and death. He’ll do the same for us, if only we turn to him and through our tears, trust in him wholeheartedly.

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