March 27.  Susanna. Beauty, like any typical teenager, enjoyed the story from the book of Daniel of Susanna and the randy, lascivious lying judges being caught out.  Susanna, a beautiful woman was quite innocently bathing in her husband’s garden when the two old men tried to seduce her and when she refused they falsely accused her, saying they saw her lying with a young man .  The people turned against her until Daniel, quite a young man, was inspired by God to intervene, and was able to turn the tables and prove them guilty.  Even the boys were fascinated by the story and the family discussed how this type of situation is as old as the hills. What is the answer to gender violence for our generation? How often are people of standing in the community guilty of such abuse and able to get away with it? Women, and men too, march and demonstrate regularly as plans are proposed and interventions presented such as the current  NATIONAL STRATEGICV PLAN ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND FEMINICE 2020-2030. They considered how essential it is to address the family as a unit, not just the victims or the perpetrator separately.  This is part of the holistic vision of a family project.

Scripture:  Susanna would go into her husband’s garden to walk.  The two elders used to see her every day, going in and walking about and they began to desire her The Lord God aroused the holy spirit of a young lad named Daniel, and he cried with a loud voice, “I am innocent of the blood of this woman.  Are you such fools? Have you condemned a daughter of Israel without examination and without learning the facts? You have borne false witness against her.”  From Daniel 13.

Pope Francis:  The word of God constantly testifies to that sombre dimension already present at the beginning, when, through sin, the relationship of love and purity between man and woman turns into domination. AL19  Even though significant advances have been made in the recognition of women’s rights in some countries much remains to be done.  History is burdened by the excesses of patriarchal cultures that considered women inferior.  AL 54 

From The Little Flowers of St Francis:  In his Rule Francis forbade his brothers to visit the sisters in their convent.  However the special close friendship between Francis and Clare was treasured by them both.  Yet again and again they restrained themselves and refrained from seeing each other although they shared inspiring occasions of deep communion.

Reflect, share, act, pray.  Discuss with others in the families and groups, how can human life and relationships be valued and treated with mutual respect?