Day 244: Susanna's Righteousness

Jeremiah 30:1-24 The next three chapters convey hope and reassurance for those exiled in Babylon. This section, traditionally called the “Book of Consolation,” promises the restoration and reunion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel with the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The sins of both kingdoms were great, but God’s mercy and steadfast love is more powerful than their sins. Therefore, after a time of chastisement, God reassured his people that Israel and Judah would once again enjoy prosperity. (CCC 710)


Daniel 12:1-13 This richly apocalyptic text gives a detailed description of the resurrection from the dead and the Final Judgment. The resurrection was something that God revealed incrementally to his people, building upon the experience of Israel in order to deliver the full understanding of salvation and eternal life. By the time of the Incarnation, the expectation of a bodily resurrection and the reality of Heaven and Hell was a common belief among the Jews, although not unanimous (the Sadducees were among those who denied the resurrection). The witness of the mother and her seven sons who were tortured to death during the Maccabean revolt presents a vivid and firm faith in both the resurrection and the prospect of life everlasting or eternal punishment (cf. 2 Mc 7). (CCC 992, 998)


Ch 12:8 O my lord...of these things?: Daniel asked for a sign that the end times had arrived, but the angel indicated the timing would remain a mystery. Nevertheless, Christ would strongly emphasize that his followers remain watchful until the end, when he would come again to judge the living and the dead. (CCC 1036, 1821, 2613, 2849)


Ch 13:1-44 The story of Susanna appears in the Greek manuscripts of Daniel and is recognized as divinely inspired by the Catholic Church. There is some speculation that this story (along with Chapter 14) might pertain to a different Danie, but there is enough common data with the previous chapters to argue for the same identity of the protagonist in both. In this story, Daniel did not see visions but did show great wisdom and a gift of reading the hearts of others, talents that are in concert with the rest of the book. Susanna’s predicament was fairly straightforward: According to the laws of the day, the testimony of two witnesses was sufficient to certify guilt, and the punishment for a woman caught in adultery was death by stoning. In his day, Jesus did not support the stoning of an adulteress but rather admonished her to repent. (CCC 1447)


Ch 13:3 One of the fundamental duties of parents is to serve as the primary educators of their children, particularly in the area of religious faith. (CCC 1653)


Ch 13:19-23 Neither of Susanna’s options were without dire consequences. If she willfully gave in to the demands of her false accusers, she would be guilty of a grievous sin. On the other hand, if she rebuffed their overtures, she would suffer a false accusation that would lead to death. She heroically made the right decision, though at the risk of her life. (CCC 1732, 1789)


Ch 13:45-64 Daniel, although young, convinced the court to allow him to cross-examine the witnesses to get at the truth of the matter for all to hear. His questionings are described as a movement of the “holy spirit.” This may not have originally referred to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity but rather an extraordinary wisdom given by God. Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2684)

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


  • We are halfway through Jeremiah! (my math is almost as bad as Fr. Mike’s 🤪)

  • We have two more days left with our buddy Daniel!!

  • GREAT NEWS!

  • OK GOSH YOU GUYS!!

  • These readings are PHENOMENAL!!

  • THEY ARE SO INCREDIBLE!!

  • Jeremiah is kind of a longer chapter today

  • God asks (aks? 😉) Jeremiah to WRITE SOMETHING DOWN

  • Jeremiah 30:2-3, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers…”

  • This is SUCH AN ENCOURAGING MOMENT!

  • IN FACT…

  • Jeremiah Chs 31-33 are a SUPER ENCOURAGING BREAK in the midst of Jeremiah being the WEEPING PROPHET and his PROPHECY OF WOE

  • Of course, it starts pretty brutally in so many ways

  • Jeremiah 30:6, “...can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale?”

  • There is basically A LOT OF PAIN

  • Remember how Jeremiah had worn that YOKE for a month?

  • And then the false prophet Hananiah had taken that yoke and broken it and lied about Nebuchadnezzar being removed

  • Jeremiah said, “Yup. You can remove the yoke of wood but you will replace it with a yoke of iron.”

  • BUT…

  • Jeremiah is NOT ALL WOE

  • Jeremiah 30:8, “And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”

  • SO GOOD!!

  • SO GOOD!!

  • IT IS SO SO POWERFUL!!

  • Remember, Hananiah said it would take TWO YEARS

  • Jeremiah said it would take SEVENTY YEARS and then they would come back

  • This is SO POWERFUL because God makes this PROMISE

  • God says, “I will allow nations to be gone. I will allow them to fall into oblivion.”

  • When was the last time you met an Ammonite?

  • When was the last time you met a Jebusite?

  • BUT…

  • You meet someone of the People of Israel any day of the week

  • God’s People have SURVIVED when virtually every other people from that area in history have not

  • The People of Israel, as God has said in other places in the Old Testament, were NOT THE GREATEST

  • NOT THE STRONGEST

  • NOT THE WISEST

  • BUT…

  • THEY BELONGED TO HIM

  • Jeremiah 30:22, “And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

  • SO INCREDIBLE!!

  • SO INCREDIBLE!!

  • That is WHY the people of Israel CONTINUE TO THIS DAY

  • BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE BLESSING OF THE LORD

  • So we continue to pray that our Jewish friends recognize their ONE TRUE GOD

  • THE LORD IS GOD

  • HE ALONE IS GOD

  • AND THEY LOVE HIM WITH ALL THEIR HEART MIND SOUL AND STRENGTH

  • BUT ALSO…

  • THEY RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT THE MESSIAH HAS COME IN JESUS CHRIST

  • AND ALL GOD’S PROMISES HAVE COME TO FULFILLMENT IN JESUS CHRIST

  • So we pray for that

  • We pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters to recognize this

  • Onwards to Daniel Ch 12

  • Daniel Chs 13 and 14 are not necessarily in Protestant Bibles (Are you curious why? I got you covered 😉 Why do some Bibles omit portions of Daniel and Esther? God Bless Jimmy Akin and Catholic Answers 😁)

  • BUT they are present in the Deuterocanonical writings

  • So guess what?

  • We will be reading them!!

  • We have the story of Susanna WHICH IS INSANE!!

  • SO INCREDIBLE!!

  • Daniel 12:1, “At that time shall rise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people.”

  • We just have to give a shout-out to St. Michael the Archangel

  • Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

  • This is one of the places in the Old Testament the recognition of LIFE AFTER DEATH

  • NOT ONLY THAT!!!

  • BUT THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD!!

  • One of the beliefs of CHRISTIANS that goes ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE APOSTLES!!

  • WE BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY!!

  • This is SO IMPORTANT

  • We believe that in the FINAL AGE, when Christ comes again, that ALL THOSE WHO ARE DEAD WILL RISE!!

  • ALL THOSE WHO ARE DEAD WILL HAVE THEIR BODIES BACK!!

  • Those who are WITH GOD will have EVERLASTING LIFE

  • Those who are WITHOUT GOD, those who have NOT CHOSEN GOD, will GET WHAT THEY HAVE CHOSEN

  • THOSE WHO HAVE NOT CHOSEN GOD WILL RISE TO SHAME AND EVERLASTING CONTEMPT (EVERLASTING!! FOREVER!! ETERNITY!! 🤯🤯🤯)

  • EVERY ONE OF IS IS CHOOSING HEAVEN OR HELL AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT!!

  • It is a REAL CHOICE that God has given to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!!

  • IT IS A SOBERING REALITY THAT IS WORTH REALLY MEDITATING ON

  • “Ok God, am I on a trajectory that is leading me AWAY from you? Or am I on a trajectory that is leading me TOWARDS you? Am I on a trajectory that is leading me to RISE FOR ETERNITY TO SHAME AND EVERLASTING CONTEMPT? Or am I on a trajectory that will GIVE YOU GLORY FOR ETERNITY?”

  • THAT IS THE QUESTION!!

  • Daniel Ch 13 we have this long story of Susanna

  • Susanna and her VIRTUE

  • Susanna and her RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • Susanna and her GOODNESS

  • And of course Daniel’s WISDOM

  • Those are the things we should focus on

  • We should focus on her UNWILLINGNESS TO GIVE IN

  • We should focus on her UNWILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE

  • We should focus on her UNWILLINGNESS TO LIE

  • GOSH!!

  • We know so many things that have happened in the news like this

  • Even Daniel says this, “There have been women of Israel whom you had your way with because they were AFRAID. They were AFRAID of you.”

  • NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE WEAK!!

  • When it comes to ANYONE who has been assaulted

  • IT IS NOT BECAUSE THAT PERSON WAS WEAK

  • IT IS BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID

  • IT IS BECAUSE THEY WERE SO OVERWHELMED BY WHAT WAS HAPPENING

  • The stories of powerful men who have ABUSED WOMEN BY USING THEIR POWER is so OVERWHELMING

  • So the story of these TWO ELDERS OF ISRAEL

  • Again, this is across the board

  • SECULAR WORLD

  • RELIGIOUS WORLD

  • OUTSIDE THE CHURCH

  • INSIDE THE CHURCH

  • ANYONE using their power to GET WHAT THEY WANT FROM SOMEONE

  • THIS is the same story

  • We see it happen AGAIN AND AGAIN

  • Even though we want to focus on Susanna’s VIRTUE and on Daniel’s WISDOM, we have to look at the perversion of these two elders

  • It essentially says that they looked upon Susanna and allowed themselves to look upon Susanna, who was beautiful

  • Daniel 13:8, “The two elders used to see her every day, going in and walking about, and they began to desire her. And they perverted their minds and turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven or remembering righteous judgments.”

  • This is how it happens FOR ANY ONE OF US!!

  • In this case it is LUST

  • In this case it is SEXUAL SINS

  • BUT…

  • If we allow our hearts to be OWNED BY IT

  • If we allow our hearts to be DIRECTED BY IT

  • MONEY

  • POWER

  • FAME

  • REPUTATION

  • SEX

  • ALL THESE THINGS!!

  • They allow themselves to look AWAY FROM HEAVEN and to look after the OBJECT OF THEIR DESIRE

  • In this case, it was the object of their LUST

  • AND THAT DESTROYED THEIR HEARTS

  • Daniel 13:10, “Both were overwhelmed with passion for her.”

  • Now, they were not overwhelmed RIGHT AWAY

  • BUT…

  • THEY TURNED AWAY THEIR EYES FROM LOOKING TO HEAVEN OR REMEMBERING RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS!!

  • THIS IS SO KEY FOR US!!

  • In a few weeks we will read the Gospel of Matthew

  • IT WILL BE AWESOME!!

  • We will hear the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter walking on water too

  • But when Peter saw how strong the wind and waves were, he became afraid and he began to sink

  • Peter took his eyes OFF JESUS and looked at what was OPPOSING HIM

  • Peter took his eyes OFF JESUS and looked at what was FEARFUL TO HIM, WHAT COULD HURT HIM

  • Now we do that when we take OUR EYES OFF JESUS and look at the DISTORTIONS OF OUR MIND

  • THE DISTORTION OF OUR DESIRES

  • THAT WILL CAUSE US TO DO WHAT PETER DID!!

  • THAT WILL CAUSE US TO SINK!!

  • THAT WILL CAUSE US TO DO WHAT THESE TWO ELDERS DID!!

  • THAT WILL CAUSE US TO ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE DISTORTED!!

  • ONE HUGE THING is the recognition that Daniel says, “Listen, the Lord…”

  • And I’m not sure if Fr. Mike “squirreled” here but we move to Susanna’s Prayer and I can’t tell if we got back to Fr. Mike’s original train of thought here...🤔

  • Fr. Mike LOVES Susanna’s Prayer

  • He couldn’t even get through it…

  • Sorry we were talking about Daniel but here we are

  • IT IS JUST SO POWERFUL

  • Daniel 13:42-43, “O eternal GOd, who discern what is secret, who are aware of all things before they come to be, you know that these men have borne false witness against me. And now I am to die! Yet I have done none of the things that they have wickedly invented against me!”

  • AND THE VERY NEXT LINE…IT IS FIVE WORDS LONG (Not FOUR...Man oh man, he really isn’t good at math 🤪 We all love Fr. Mike anyway!!)

  • Daniel 13:44, “The Lord heard her cry.”

  • OH MY GOSH!!

  • WE ALL KNOW THIS

  • EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US WHO HAS EVER CRIED OUT TO THE LORD

  • We heard this yesterday with Daniel from the moment he STARTED PRAYING TO THE LORD and GOD HEARD HIS PRAYERS

  • GOD HEARS YOUR PRAYERS!!

  • You might be someone who is in a position like SUSANNA

  • Where you did not get delivered

  • But instead, you were hurt in a DEVASTATING WAY

  • You might be in a position like DANIEL, and you fight every day for those people who are hurt

  • You might be in a position like JEREMIAH, who put your heart and soul into helping people but they just REJECT YOU

  • You might be in a position like the TWO ELDERS, and you look at your heart and say, “Gosh, Lord, my heart is SO BROKEN. My heart is SO TWISTED. I have taken my eyes off the righteous one. I have taken my heart away from His righteous teachings. I have looked at things and I have placed them at the center of my heart and what they have done is they have DISTORTED ME. I can’t SEE CLEARLY ANYMORE.”

  • Any given day, we can be ANY ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE

  • This is a BIG COMMUNITY

  • EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS REPRESENTED IN US

  • So we say, “Ok God, if I am experiencing this GREAT SHAME, this GREAT PAIN, of memories, or even maybe recently of being HURT AND ABUSED, Lord God, we lift up that person right now who is listening to this. If a person is in the position of Daniel, trying to fight for these people, trying to work hard, Lord God we lift them up before you. If you are in Jeremiah’s position trying to constantly love the people around you well, but you are being rejected and turned away and feeling isolated more and more the more you love, Lord God we lift them up to you. And Lord, those of us whose hearts are DISTORTED because we have given our hearts to MONEY, to GREED, to LUST, to VENGEANCE, to UNFORGIVENESS, to ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOU, Lord God please we lift them up to you too. Because you love EVERYONE. And you desire that we come to know you and to be YOURS. ‘I will be your God. And you will be my people’, you say. Lord God, help us to be your people.”

  • FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much, so much for this day. Thank you so much for your Word, your letter from Jeremiah, for this powerful testimony to the Resurrection of the Dead, this powerful story of the virtue of Susanna and the wisdom of Daniel that is you working in all things, Lord God. We also ask you, God, that we are humble. Because as you reveal to us, pride goes before a fall. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Help us to simply walk humbly before you, humbly in your presence, and humbly in your will. In all things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”