Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 1:1-6.8-20; Luke 21:1-4)
The Book of the Prophet Daniel is misplaced alongside of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Where the latter exhort the people of Israel to change their ways or suffer God’s wrath, Daniel tells the story of a Jewish man’s faithfulness and God’s ultimate destruction of his persecutors. Daniel was written centuries after the events it relates in order to shore up the flagging hopes of Jews under persecution by the Hellenist tyrant Antipas IV Epiphanes. It is rightly regarded as historical fiction.
Today’s reading from Daniel introduces the main character and his companions. The moral is self-evident – it is not a superior diet that makes one excel but attention to God’s law.
Most people today do not suffer the religious persecution of Daniel and friends. Yet there is a cultural imperialism promoting casual sex and the marginalization of religion to be dealt with. Daniel serves us also an example of faithfulness to God in an age that would just as soon forget His presence.