Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Daniel 6, 18-28

A stone was then brought and laid over the mouth of the pit; and the king sealed it with his own signet and with that of his noblemen, so that there could be no going back on the original decision about Daniel.

The king returned to his palace, spent the night in fasting and refused to receive any of his concubines. Sleep eluded him,

and at the first sign of dawn he got up and hurried to the lion pit.

As he approached the pit he called in anguished tones to Daniel, 'Daniel, servant of the living God! Has your God, whom you serve so faithfully, been able to save you from the lions?'

Daniel answered the king, 'May Your Majesty live for ever!

My God sent his angel who sealed the lions' jaws; they did me no harm, since in his sight I am blameless; neither have I ever done you any wrong, Your Majesty.'

The king was overjoyed and ordered Daniel to be released from the pit. Daniel was released from the pit and found to be quite unhurt, because he had trusted in his God.

The king then sent for the men who had accused Daniel and had them thrown into the lion pit, and their wives and children too; and before they reached the floor of the pit the lions had seized them and crushed their bones to pieces.

King Darius then wrote to all nations, peoples and languages dwelling throughout the world: 'May you prosper more and more!

This is my decree: Throughout every dominion of my realm, let all tremble with fear before the God of Daniel: He is the living God, he endures for ever, his kingdom will never be destroyed and his empire never come to an end.

He saves, sets free, and works signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth; he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Throughout history we see threats to faith in God, because his presence puts human pride and power into question; it asks us to look beyond ourselves and teaches us mercy in a world full of conflict. Advised by his counsellors, Darius, the powerful Persian king, demands that everyone completely submit to his power. Nonetheless, he has respect for Daniel and Daniel’s God, so much so that he tries to save Daniel. But often evil seems strong enough to render impossible any attempt to oppose it. Daniel is in the lions’ den. His life seems to be ending. What strength did his faith have This is the question that accompanies believers who find themselves in difficult situations—when evil touches them or when they see its destructive force. Daniel does not resign himself to the evil force that seems invincible. His faith unexpectedly reached all the way to Darius. Indeed, the prayer and words of a person of faith communicate beyond our expectations. It is significant to note that—as opposed to what happens in the burning furnace—it is the same king who turns in prayer to the Lord—he starts fasting—to save Daniel from evil. Even the powerful are changed by faith. It renders them more human and therefore closer to God. We should never despair before evil, even when it seems to assault us like a roaring lion to devour us, as the first letter of Peter says, "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour" (5:9). Daniel had faith and the Lord sent an angel to free him from the lions’ den. The Lord will not allow evil or death to imprison his faithful. "He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." He will free those who confide in him.