Scripture Reading: Daniel 3:19-30
In 1072, St. Stanislaus was appointed Bishop by Pope Alexander II. He was an absolutely humble man, an exemplary shepherd who stood fearlessly against injustice. During his time as Bishop of Krakow, King Boleslas II of Poland was causing much scandal by the cruel treatment of his subjects and his unbridled lust. St. Stanislaus had no option than to excommunicate him, when all efforts made by him, through prayers tears and admonition failed to yield any dividend. Due to the excommunication, the king was suspended from all public service in the Cathedral while he (Bishop) retired to the chapel of St. Michael in the suburb of Krakow. Infuriated by the Bishops pronouncements, on 11th April 1079, he sent some knights to kill the holy Bishop. Of course they could not afford to lay hands on the Bishop. While he was celebrating the Mass the king burst into the church and used his sword to split his head. This is an example of the extent to which Satan can go to fight and destroy things of God. Our scripture reading today gives us the story of the three Hebrew friends, Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego. Like St. Stanislaus, they were fearless and preferred to obey God rather than man. Their sordid stand against the proclamation of King Nebuchadnezzar infuriated him, to the extent that he
committed them to die in a fiery furnace. Thanks be to God that these Hebrew friends, like Stanislaus were not shaken by the horrible death planned for them. In Romans 12:2, St. Paul warns, “Do not conform yourselves with the standard of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind . . . .” Our Lord Jesus says in Luke 9:62, “Anyone who starts to plough and then keeps looking back is of no use to the kingdom of God.” Therefore whosoever would conform to standards of the world, which negates the liberty and freedom for which Christ died a cruel death shall suffer greatly in the hands of this wicked world. Conversely, whosoever obeys the Lord, refusing to conform to worldly standards shall be protected by Him.
Beloved in Christ, take note that the operators of this world system, in their ignorance and foolishness think that nobody can fight for the Christian who chooses to obey the laws of God. In their blindness, they mock such Christians as the Jews did when they nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross. They said to him mockingly, “. . . . Aha! You were going to tear down the temple and build it in three days! Now come down from the Cross and save yourself.” (Mark 15:29 —30) In the same vein, king Nebuchadnezzar and King Boleslas II of Poland, unaware of the power of God, thought that if they killed the Hebrew friends and St. Stanislaus they would have succeeded in bringing to an end any form of opposition. Beloved, as followers of Jesus, we are faced with many challenges to our faith and in some cases our lives are threatened. The Holy Spirit asks you today, “Is there anything that is capable of separating you from the love of God?” Will you allow the cares of this life deny you the glorious home that Jesus Christ has gone to prepare for you? Though St. Stanislaus and indeed many other saints were brutally killed, they enjoy eternal bliss with God; because they loved him to the extent of giving up their lives. Beloved in Christ, like Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego, always strive to lift up the name and integrity of God, and as often as challenges come your way, He will be there as the fourth man. Apart from saving you at all times, eternal bliss with Him in heaven is assured. What on earth can be as rewarding as gaining eternal life in heaven? Let’s conclude today’s reflection in the words of St. Marie Bernarde Sonbirous, “You must learn to love suffering. Our Lord gives His Crown of Thorns to His friends. Seek nothing better. I am happier in my bed with my crucifix than a queen on the throne.”
Judges 13: 2-7. 24-25a; Ps 71: 3-4a. 5-6ab. 16-17 (R. 8a); Lk 1: 5-25 ADVENT WEEKDAY II
- Thank God for today’s reflection
- O Lord grant me the grace to desire to please You at all times and everywhere (take seriously).
- Pray for all members of your denomination that everyone may please God by their actions, thoughts and words.
- Pray for all Daily Strength Users that we may be marked for heaven in the name of Jesus
Exercise: Encourage relations who are suffering for the sake of Christ.
Memory Verse: Luke 9:62