Daily Reflection

“Stay Awake!  For you do not know when the son of Man will come.” (Matthew 24:42)

What sustains us in dark hours?  What keeps fear from surging?  Life-support comes in many forms.  A word scratched into the wall tells the captive that another had been there before.  Resist!  You are not alone.  Without closeness to God and others, how would we endure?

The Jewish people were encased in darkness.  About 167 B. C., Antiochus IV destroyed the temple and defiled the sabbath.  Smash the sacred and people will surrender to the new power.  Into this forlorn state came the Book of Daniel, written to encourage and remember: this is who we are.  Centuries earlier, the Jewish kingdom was plundered and its people forced into exile. Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon as human spoils.  Surrounded by luxury, they vowed to live simply and hold fast to their faith.  How can anyone see clearly without God’s help?  The youth resisted and received wisdom more penetrating than the king’s gaudy soothsayers.
Like prophets, steadfast youth shine a light into darkness.  Dreamers—migrants who arrived as children—claim this land that has become their home.  They are not in exile.  The young fill the streets in many countries to call for justice.  Students read “the signs of the time” and, without endless calculation, take action.  They push hard to protect the planet, our common home, from catastrophe.  We elders, like the magicians of Babylon, say what soothes the powerful.  “Be patient.  Change takes time.  It is too costly.  It’s too late already. We’ll ride out the storms.”   The abnormal gets christened as normal.  How do the prudent make common cause with the prophets?  When do I stop covering my ears and listen to the cry: “wake up”?

The poor widow was not mired in efforts to count the cost.  She burrowed deep and gave her all.  Like Daniel’s, her passion for God was quiet and encompassing.