On first reading today’s Gospel one is tempted to think of
the morning newspaper, CNN and Fox headline news, or some prime time talk
show. For the content of Luke’s writing seems very familiar, very
contemporary: cities besieged by armies, fires forcing mass evacuations,
villages trampled underfoot, rivers of refugees, nations in disarray and
even a lunar eclipse! Many do, indeed, stand in anticipation of what
is coming upon the world!
But we know it is not yet the second coming of the son
of man, the Lord Jesus. Why? God is not finished with us.
There is yet more work to be done by each of us as individual and as community.
We must ground ourselves in faith, be confident in hope, and loving in action.
The work of God is not yet complete!
For when he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead,
the glorious Christ will reveal the secrets of our hearts and render to
each of us according to one’s acceptance or refusal of his grace.
It is a judgment of the quality of one’s faith.
Today’s reading from the Book of Daniel contains an interesting twist
in facing the question of faith. The relationship between Daniel and
Darius, between the prophet and the great king, is both curious and illustrative.
For each of us needs a Darius in our life! But only if you are
Daniel was faithful to his God and for that he was thrown into the
lions’ den; Daniel trusted in his God and for that he was removed unhurt
from the menacing lions.
Darius, the king, loved and admired Daniel because of his faith and
confidence in the God of Israel. He tried to protect Daniel from the
king’s own laws, but to no avail. Darius, like Daniel, entrusted Daniel’s
safety to the God of the prophet. Both were gratified by the divine
intervention that returned Daniel unharmed.
How strong is our faith before the mounting issues of the day?
Is our faith strong enough to convert hearts, strong enough to challenge
unjust laws, strong enough to turn hatred to love, strong enough to face
the menacing lions in our lives?
The quality of one’s faith, the power of the example of one trusting
in God in the face of today’s challenges – personal or communal – can turn
hearts, build relationships, and advance the Kingdom of God.
As Darius the king decreed: “The God of Daniel is the Living
God, enduring forever...his dominion shall be without end. He is
a Deliverer and Savior, working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth...”
Or as St. Paul wrote: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Faith, a strong and abiding faith, can overcome the lions in one’s