Reflection for Thursday, November 27, 2003: 34th week in Ordinary Time.

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Schlegel, John, S.J.
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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 a Daniel! 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 life.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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