[As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.”] (Dn. 13: 19-21)
These few passages are taken from our first reading today (cf. Dn. 13: 1-62). The reading describes the plight of Susana. Two old men, Jewish elders, see Susana’s beauty and begin to lust after her. Their lust drives them to devise a plot to rape her. They then plan to get her executed because of her refusal to give into their advances. The above verses are their ploy to force Susana to submit to their lustful desires.
The old men’s sinister and compulsive speech demonstrates the insidiousness of what sin can be. Satan’s tempting response to Eve comes to mind. “You certainly will not die” (Gn. 3:4). In a very real sense the old men have “died” to all sensibilities. These men have let the sin of lust so take hold of them that they can think of nothing else but gratifying their sinful desire. They can’t even think of the devastating effects the fulfillment of their desires would cause Susana.
It’s easy to observe the seriousness of sin when reading about these two disgusting men. Yet, we often forget how serious our own sins are, whatever they many be. Our sins are still serious no matter how “small” or hidden we may think they are. The consequence of “dying” is attached to every sin, in the life of grace and even our relations with one another.
As we draw nearer to Holy Week, examine your conscience again. Call to mind your sins, even those that you think are tiny or insignificant. Ask God for a greater sense of the seriousness of your sins, so that you may more prayerfully enter into the events of Holy Week and your salvation.