Day 245: The Faithfulness of Daniel
Jeremiah 31:1-14 After the completion of the chastisement of his people, God would bless them again and bring them back to the Promised Land. True to his covenant, as a faithful bridegroom to his bride, the Lord loved his people with a steadfast and permanent fidelity. The punishments had not yet been carried out, and God, in his immeasurable love and mercy, was promising already the imminent blessing that would follow his people’s repentance and conversion. His punishment was not an expression of anger, let alone vindictiveness; rather, it was a means to effect interior conversion and reform. (CCC 220, 1611)
Ch 31:15-17 A voice is heard...is not: Sometimes called Rachel’s Lament, this is quoted in the infancy narratives of Christ with respect to the slaying of the male infants in Bethlehem in the time of Herod (cf. Mt 2:17-18), which is commemorated in the Church on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Historically, Rachel was the wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin; symbolically, Rachel represents all of Israel, whose children were deported to Babylon, Traditionally, Rachel was said to have been buried in Ramah, and it was there that the soon-to-be-exiled Jews were assembled after the Babylonian conquest of Judah. Immediately after this lament, the Lord said once again that the exiles would return to the Promised Land.
Ch 31:18-30 This passage indicates that God’s punishments moved the Tribe of Ephraim to repentance and conversion. As was the case with Ephraim, restoration awaited all the Tribes of Israel, contingent on their repentance.
Ch 31:31-34 The New Covenant promised by God would not be written on tablets of stone but on the human heart. This interior presence of the covenant signifies the indwelling of grace to live the charity of Christ. Natural Law is written on the heart of every human person, disposing him or her to possess a basic knowledge of the existence of God and the fundamentals of moral law. The Holy Spirit guides the Church in her interpretation and application of the contents of Divine Revelation. The New and Eternal Covenant established by Christ replaced the Old Covenant of the Mosaic Law, This passage is proclaimed at the First Reading at Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B. (CCC 64, 580, 715, 1956, 1965; CSDC 25, 324)
Ch 31:33-34 Contemplation of the Word of God with the proper desire and intention strengthens our union with God. The capacity to meditate as a form of prayer depends on the grace of God. (CCC 368, 2713)
Ch 31:35-40 The order and harmony of the material world reflects both the existence of God and his providence. Similar to the laws governing creation, the moral law, which is articulated by Divine Revelation, brings about personal perfection and happiness. (CCC 346)
Daniel 14:1-27 Polytheism, the belief in multiple gods, is prohibited by the First Commandment. Any form of idolatry is a flagrant violation of the First commandment, since this practice treats false gods (or certain worldly goods) as if they were absolute goods, satisfying totally the desires of the human heart. Daniel’s uncanny wisdom unmasks the foolishness of idolatrous practices. (CCC 2112)
Ch 14:28-42 Daniel’s survival in the lion’s den is made all the more remarkable because the lions were not fed for the six days that Daniel was in the den. Daniel enjoyed God’s protection, not only from famished wild beasts but also from hunger. It is not clear whether the unusual story of Habakkuk delivering food to Daniel refers to the prophet of the Old Testament book by that name. Perhaps the intent of mentioning Habakkuk was to connect Daniel more closely with the prophetic tradition.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Did you know that the word “Subscribe” is NOT in Jeremiah 31 or Daniel 14? Fun fact indeed 😉
God gives us the GRACE to get through storms
Fr. Mike neglected to say yesterday, when we were reading Jeremiah Ch 30
God says it twice
Jeremiah 30:7, “Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; (and here is the KEY LINE) yet he shall be saved out of it.”
God says this a couple of times
Even in just this one chapter
HE SHALL BE SAVED OUT OF IT
Jeremiah 30:23, “Behold the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest…”
BUT YOU ARE GOING TO BE SAVED OUT OF IT!!
As believers, we need to be reminded that God says, “In this world you will have trouble. Take heart, I have overcome the world.”
HE PROMISED US!
God is going to BRING US THROUGH
That means that we have to be IN THE MIDST OF IT
In order to go THROUGH THE STORM, we have to BE IN THE STORM
God says, “I will bring you out of it.”
Jeremiah Ch 31 is a GORGEOUS, INCREDIBLE CHAPTER
Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus says the Lord: ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness.’”
Jeremiah 31:3, “...I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built…”
THIS IS SO SO INCREDIBLE!!
Jeremiah 31:10, “...’He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’ For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.’”
THIS IS US!!
THIS IS ISRAEL!!
God will bring Israel back to the land in 70 years
GOD RANSOMED US BY THE POWER OF JESUS CHRIST
BY THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST HE HAS RANSOMED US FROM HANDS THAT ARE TOO STRONG FOR US
Jeremiah 31:13, “Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance (The Safety Dance?? 🤔), and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.”
THIS IS JUST SO IMPORTANT!!
Remember, in order to GET THROUGH THE STORM, we have to BE IN THE STORM
On to the last thing or THREE in Jeremiah Ch 31
God says, “There will be individual responsibility for conduct.”
Jeremiah 31:29-30, “In those days they shall no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But everyone shall die for his own sin…”
So YOUR CHILDREN will not die for YOUR sin
YOU are not going to die for YOUR CHILDREN’S SIN
There is INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY that each one of us HAS TO CARRY
Jeremiah 31:31, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…”
Do you remember what Jesus says at The Last Supper?
“This IS the Blood of the NEW and ETERNAL Covenant. Take it, all of you and drink from it. DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.”
SO SO IMPORTANT!!
That is the SIGN of the Covenant
It SEALS the Covenant
It STRENGTHENS the Covenant
Part of it is this...Jeremiah 31:33, “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE GIFT BY THE LORD TO GIVE US THIS COVENANT!
TO BRING US INTO THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST!
WE GET TO RENEW THIS GIFT EACH AND EVERY SINGLE TIME WE CELEBRATE THE MASS!!
WE GET TO RECEIVE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST!!
THE WAY GOD FULFILLS JEREMIAH CH 31 IN JESUS!!
In the Church right now, we get to experience this ON A DAILY BASIS (ALL OVER THE WORLD!! 🤯🤯🤯)
Now on to Daniel Ch 14
JUST SO GOOD!!
We have three little vignettes of Daniel
Daniel and the Priests of Bel
Daniel Kills a Dragon
Daniel in the Lions’ Den (AGAIN!!)
Here is Daniel who is FAITHFULLY JEWISH
SO COMPLETELY JEWISH
That he is not even CLOSE to abandoning worship of the Lord God
NOT EVEN CLOSE
Daniel is able to survive in Babylon WITHOUT BECOMING A BABYLONIAN
Here is how it is possible to LIVE IN EXILE
It might cost you EVERYTHING
Daniel might have been thrown into the lion’s den once or twice and eaten each time
Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael may have been cast into the fiery furnace and burnt up
It demonstrates that THIS IS WHAT FAITHFULNESS LOOKS LIKE
YOU CAN LIVE IN EXILE
YOU CAN BE FAR FROM HOME
YOU CAN BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE
YOU CAN BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU WHO DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE
AND YOU CAN STILL HOLD ONTO YOUR FAITH
YOU CAN STILL LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH
This is what the last couple of chapters in The Book of Daniel REALLY TRULY REVEAL
Chs 7-12 is all about INCREDIBLE REVELATION
Chs 1-6 and 13-14 show us HOW TO LIVE IN EXILE
TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD GOD NO MATTER WHAT THE COST
THAT IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO NO MATTER WHAT!!
GOSH YOU GUYS!!
THIS IS US!!
Our culture around us is CHANGING DRAMATICALLY (Or have you not noticed? 🤔)
Our culture around us doesn’t necessarily respect anyone who BELIEVES THE BIBLE
Our culture around us doesn’t necessarily respect anyone who FOLLOWS JESUS CHRIST
Some people might…
We are increasingly becoming STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND
We are increasingly becoming more acutely aware that WE ARE SOJOURNERS
THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR ULTIMATE HOME!!
We are going to do EVERYTHING WE CAN TO FOLLOW THE LORD
We are going to do EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE
We are going to do EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY ARE AT IN LIFE
WE JUST FOLLOW JESUS’ COMMANDMENT!!
TO LOVE THOSE THAT HATE US!!
TO LOVE THOSE THAT PERSECUTE US!!
We find ourselves more and more in that place of MISUNDERSTANDING
That place of POWERLESSNESS
That place where OTHERS ARE MORE POWERFUL
That is why The Book of Daniel is SO POWERFUL
Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael ALL SHOW US
IT IS POSSIBLE TO LIVE IN EXILE AND TO BE FAITHFUL
Some of us might have more exile in our lives than others
Some of us might even think that we are surrounded by people who support our beliefs
THAT IS AWESOME
THAT IS INCREDIBLE
THAT IS A GREAT GIFT
Many of us might experience some of this EXILE LIVING WHEN WE ARE FAR FROM HOME
MAYBE EVEN A LITTLE AFRAID
Daniel reminds us that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID!!
Jeremiah reminds us that THE DAY WILL COME WHEN NO ONE WHO BELONGS TO THE LORD WILL BE AFRAID AGAIN
SO UNTIL THAT DAY…
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
To one degree or another, WE ARE AWAY FROM HOME
To one degree or another, WE ARE IN EXILE
WE NEED OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO ARE UNITED WITH US IN FAITH
WE NEED OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO ARE UNITED WITH US IN PRAYER
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much, gosh. Lord God, thank you so much for this day. Thank you for getting us to The Book of Daniel and through The Book of Daniel. We thank you so much for bringing us to this moment. God, you are with us through everything. You bring us through distress. You bring us through tornadoes and tempests. You bring us through storms of life. And we ask that you please remind us of your presence this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”