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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
Daniel 3:62-67
Luke 21:12-19

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die with a smile

"I bid you resolve not to worry about your defense beforehand, for I will give you words and a wisdom which none of your adversaries can take exception to or contradict." —Luke 21:14-15

The book of Daniel was probably written around the time of the Seleucid Empire's persecution of the Jewish people. Although this was such a severe and brutal persecution (see 1 Mc 1:60-63), the author of Daniel could still poke fun at those persecuting him and his people. He pictured the persecutors as half-cocked and all shook up when they saw a disembodied hand and wrist writing on the wall. The author seems to enjoy describing the king of the persecutors thus: "When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked" (Dn 5:5-6). In the midst of some serious teaching about persecution, punishment, justice, and God's sovereignty, the author of Daniel still liked to crack a few jokes.

We too can smile even when we are manhandled and persecuted (see Lk 21:12). We can be light-hearted even when betrayed by our own family (see Lk 21:16) or when facing execution. The Lord will give us a special grace not only to speak up for Him at our trial (see Lk 21:15), but also to trust Him completely and know that He will either rescue us or give us a glorious death. Therefore, "when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, for your ransom is near at hand" (Lk 21:28).

Anybody can crack jokes at a party, but only a child of God can do it at a martyrdom. Smile, laugh, suffer, die, live for Jesus, and love Him with all your heart.

Prayer:  Father, may I die with the sense of humor that St. Lawrence and St. Thomas More had at their deaths.

Promise:  "By patient endurance you will save your lives." —Lk 21:19

Praise:  Jesus gave Robin calmness during her husband's rages. Eventually, her husband found Jesus and lost his ill temper.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 22, 2013

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