Advent Series - December 21
We read how the Jews were taken into captivity by the Chaldeans and forced to live in Babylon.
King Darius of Babylon liked Daniel very much and wanted to put him in charge of his kingdom. Others were jealous of Daniel and they looked for a way to get rid of him.
Using flattery, they got the king to make a law forbidding anyone to pray except to the king for 30 days. Anyone caught disobeying the king’s law would be thrown to the lions. When Daniel went to pray to God, the jealous men brought Daniel before the king.
Then the silly king knew he had been tricked into killing his friend, but he prayed that Daniel’s God would deliver him. The next morning, King Darius hurried to the den and Daniel answered him that an angel of the Lord had shut up the mouths of the lions.
The king was “exceeding glad” and commanded that Daniel be taken out of the den.
“Then king Darius wrote to all people, tribes and languages, dwelling in the whole earth:
PEACE be multiplied unto you. It is decreed by me, that in all my empire and my kingdom all men dread and fear the God of Daniel. For he is the living and eternal God forever: and His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and His power shall be forever. He is the Deliverer, and Saviour, doing signs and wonders in heaven, and in earth: who hath delivered Daniel out of the lion’s den” (Dan 6:25-27)
After Daniel was delivered from the lions, he prayed to God, and the angel Gabriel revealed to him God’s plan:
- for the return of the Jews to
Jerusalem (which had been foretold by Isaias as well)
- for the rebuilding of the Temple
- the coming of the Persians, Greeks
(with the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes) and Romans
- The angel Gabriel also revealed
the time of the coming of the Saviour; which would be 69 weeks
of years (69 X 7 = 483 years) from the rebuilding of Jerusalem! (Dan 9:25) Amazing! Who could not believe that Our Lord was
the Messias! In fact, It says in the Haydock commentary of the Bible about
this prophecy that “In a dispute between an Jew and a
Christian, at Venice, the Rabbi who presided…put an end to the
business by saying, “Let us shut up our Bibles; for if we
proceed in the examination of this prophecy, it will make us
all become Christians” (Haydock page 1103 regarding Daniel
Time passed and Daniel was thrown to the lions again. This time by those who worshipped the idol, Bel and a snake, which Daniel destroyed. This time, Daniel was left with the lions for 6 days.
At that time, a few Jews had been left behind to plant crops in Judah. Among those living in Judah was Habacuc, the prophet. Habacuc was on his way to bring food for the workers in the fields when an angel appeared. Taking Habacuc by his hair, the angel carried him all the way to Babylon so that he could give the food to Daniel while he was in the den!
After 6 days, Daniel was released and the king gave thanks, ordering all to fear the God of Daniel.
(And both times, the lions ate the bad guys instead!)
The O Antiphon for today is “O Oriens”
O rising sun, brightness of eternal life and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
This antiphon is fitting today because it is the shortest day of the year!
Our Lord came to bring us the light of truth.
An interesting thing to note:
From the birth of Our Lord, daylight will increase until about the feast of St. John the Baptist in June.
From the feast of Saint John, the days begin to grow shorter until the birth of Our Lord!
St. John the Baptist said of Our Lord, “He must increase and I must decrease.”