Day 241: Daniel and the Den of Lions

Jeremiah 24:1-10 In the vision of the baskets of figs, the good figs are the faithful people in exile who would be brought back home someday, while the unfaithful ones remaining in Judah and in Egypt would face many punishments.

Ch 25:1-14 Judah deserved its punishment and exile, but this would only last for a relatively short time. God would also punish those nations that rose up against Israel, forcing them (in the symbolic vision of Jeremiah) to drink the cup of his wrath. These verses show clearly God’s power over all people. 

Ch 25:31 At the end of time, Christ will return to judge the living and the dead in the Final Judgment. The blessed will enter eternal life, while those who reject God will be separated from him forever. (CCC 1059-1060)

Daniel 6:1-18 Various leaders who were jealous of Daniel tricked King Darius the Mede into proclaiming an edict that prohibited the worship of the God of Israel. When Daniel was caught praying, the king sought a way to pardon him but had no legal recourse. The king spent a wakeful night in fasting, a form of self-denial from food, which was more in line with the Jewish tradition than pagan ascetical practice. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right upon which no civil government ought to infringe. (CCC 1434, 1738, 1747, 2107, 2211)

Ch 6:10 Three times a day: Daniel set aside time for prayer as part of his daily schedule-an exemplary practice that the Church recommends to all the faithful. “Christ taught us: ‘You must pray at all times and not lose heart’ (Lk 18:1)...The Church fulfills this...especially through the liturgy of the hours…[which] consecrates to God the whole cycle of the day and the night” (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 10). (CCC 2726)

Ch 7:1-12 Daniel’s dream is rich in symbolism, which was also reflected in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. The eras of history are represented by beasts that arose out of the sea, symbolizing evil and darkness. The winged lion represents Nebuchadnezzar; the bear is the Medes; the leopard is the Persians; and the iron-toothed beast is the Greek Empire. The small, blaspheming horn on this latter beast is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. God would pass harsh judgment on all these beasts and destroy all the sinful kingdoms signified by the beasts. In a more immediate way, Antiochus would be annihilated. (CCC 678)

Ch 7:13-14 One like a son of man: In Daniel’s vision, “son of man” refers to the one who brings salvation to the world, which is a clear prophecy of the coming Messiah. Jesus used this term in reference to himself (cf. Jn 3:13; Mt 20:28). Christ, the eternal King whose kingdom is not of this world (cf. Jn 18:36), sits at the right hand of the Father, as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed. This article of faith also confirms Daniel’s vision of the son of man. These verses comprise the First Reading at Mass on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year B. (CCC 440, 664)

Ch 7:15-28 In addition to foretelling future events, the intent of the apocalyptic writing is to give hope to the afflicted. This account was written during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes when his persecutions against the Jews were extreme. Besides desecrating the Temple, he imposed Greek religion, customs, education, and culture on the Jews in an effort to prohibit their freedom to worship and the practice of their traditions. Those Jews who succumbed to this enculturation were sometimes called Hellenized Jews. Through the use of symbols, the author of this book urged the Jews to remain faithful to their religious traditions in the firm hope that God would triumph in the end. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much for reminding us of your truth, and for reminding us of the pieces of wisdom that we need to never ever forget. Help us to always remember not only the wisdom we need to make it through this life, but also help us to always remember what you’ve done in our lives, what you’ve done in the lives of your people and what you’ve done in this world. Lord God, help us to belong to you more than we belong to anything else. Help us to be yours more than we are anything else. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”