Daily Scriptures Reflection for Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Scripture: Daniel 6:12-28. Daniel 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74. Luke 21:20-28.

Though we celebrate Thanksgiving Day today, I decided to comment on the continuous readings of the last week of the year in our liturgical readings.  The Response is appropriate for the Thanksgiving Prayer that can be meditated upon. The rest are the fruit of my meditation and study on the passage from Daniel.

Daniel has undergone a horrendous ordeal and survived the hottest flames of the fiery furnace; he and the three young men with her were protected by an angel—probably Gabriel or Michael who are favorites in this story of Daniel’s life and visions.  He was faithful and trusted absolutely in the Lord God of Israel and was saved from the flames. Today we hear of a second terrible ordeal—the one we often see in paintings—he is thrown into a pit with lions and the door to the pit is sealed.  Darius, the King cared for Daniel but could not go against the laws of the Medes and the Persians, so Daniel suffered this punishment for his refusal to worship other gods.  He prayed on his knees before he was thrown into the lions’ den while the King wished that the God of Daniel would somehow save him.  Voila! It happened and Daniel was released safe and sound.  I liked what the King then said, “For he (the God of Daniel) is the living God, enduring forever, his kingdom shall not be destroyed, his dominion will be without end. He is a deliverer and savior, working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.”

The paintings and the Church’s tradition on the event of the  lions’ den is associated with death and resurrection.  At the approach of death the following prayer in Latin was said, “Libera, Domine, animam ejus sicut liberasti Danielem de lacum leonum.”  Deliver, O Lord, his or her soul just as you delivered (freed) Daniel from the lake (ditch) of the lions.”

In the Responses for all the liturgies of this last week of the liturgical year we have been reading from the Prayer of Azariah and the hymn of the Three Hebrew youths. Though these were redactions and additions to the original part of Daniel, they are found only written in Greek.  They all are beautiful responses before Thanksgiving Day and quite appropriate for this week in which we all look forward to the feast.  Nor do we forget that the leftovers form part of the Thanksgiving theme of grace, food, and praise of God’s abundant generosity to this great country of ours.  We can easily use these prayers and hymns as part of our thanksgiving prayers and meditations.  They are like prayer accompanied by two litanies with a soloist or choir singing the first part of the verse and the people the second part as a response.  I believe there are sixty-six lines in the hymn of the three young men.  Let us give thanks to the Lord, for his merciful love endures forever!  Amen.

Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.

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