In refusing unclean food, Daniel and his friends remained faithful to the Lord even in captivity, showing great trust in Him.
Photo: Otto Adolph Stemler (1872–1953), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Faith is our anchor during hardships
In this extract of a homily by Father Paul Ngo, MEP, we are reminded of the importance of having absolute faith in God. Fr Paul emphasises how crucial this trust is as we give of ourselves in service of Him.
In the book of Daniel, Jerusalem was under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were persecuted and forced into hardship (Daniel 1:1-6, 8 20). Then came the offer of a reprieve, an escape from these adversities. In exchange for a life of security and comfort, they had to abandon God. They would be free from persecution and live in safety, but they trusted in and remained faithful to God, refusing to forsake Him.
Give of ourselves
In such circumstances, many of us would fall into depression and may even start blaming God. However, Daniel and his friends were in exile and therefore had nothing. What they had were their faith and trust in God, and their genuine love for Him. Daniel and his friends chose to give of what little they had. Despite not having much, they were able to give God their loyalty. That is a wonderful example for us. Many of us have been blessed with much more and are better off, but do we choose to give to God in our daily lives? Do we give not only with our money, but with our time, commitment and dedication? Do we have a genuine love for Him? Or do we choose to love God at our convenience? Do we love Him, worship Him and serve Him only when it is convenient for us? When it is not convenient, do we ignore Him, forget Him, abandon Him and focus on taking care of our wants first? We cannot only love God at our convenience. That is our weakness. Sometimes when our faith is not strong, we use it to serve ourselves instead of God. When our faith benefits us, we are so happy and we want to serve Him. When we do not benefit, we start to doubt or blame God, and we abandon Him. Our tendency in modern society is that when we have, we want more; when we have more, we want even more. The more we want, the more we are dissatisfied. This reminds me of something I heard a mother from a very poor country say to her children: “I have nothing to give you; I only have Jesus. That is why I gave all of you Jesus.”
“Let us ask God to give us a genuine love for Him so that whatever happens, we will continue to choose to serve God and give Him our best.”
Trust in Him
Let us reflect on how we are present with God, how we serve Him and love Him. Do we still choose to serve Him when we have little? Even when we have nothing, do we still trust Him and believe in Him? Daniel and his friends trusted in the Lord, and the Lord did wonders through them, showing the king of Babylon and his people that the God of Israel was present and would continue to be with His people, even in very difficult moments. They showed trust in God, much like the widow who gave her two small copper coins in the lesson of the widow’s mite. Her genuine love for God and trust in Him allowed her to willingly offer all that she had, her livelihood, even if what she had was very little compared to others (Luke 21:1-4). She believed that God would bless her and be with her. Do we have the same faith when we give God just one hour of our time? Do we believe that God will bless us abundantly?
Ask to continue serving Him
Brothers and sisters, never be stingy with God. He invites us to have a genuine love for and dedication to Him. Without love, our faith in God will be weak, and it will disappear one day. Only when we have a genuine love for God can we then be faithful, trust in Him, and believe in Him. Let us pray and ask God to give us a genuine love for Him so that whatever happens, we will never doubt Him, and will instead continue to choose to serve God and give Him our best. We ask that with all our abilities and capacities, we will continue to serve God and glorify His name through our actions, words, witnessing, and our humble and genuine love for Him.