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)

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.”