On Tuesday in Passion Week, the Church presents two images : First, of Daniel in the Lion's Den with Habacuc the Prophet miraculously transported in to bring him a meal to strengthen Daniel so as to kill the dragon, an image of sin; and second of Our Lord entering the cohort of the Jews who, upon His condemning the sins of the world, seek to kill him. Fr Theresian Xavier, presents some brief thoughts from the Indian Mission on the relevance to our situation today.
In Judea there was a prophet, Habacuc; he mixed some bread in a bowl with the stew he had boiled, and was going to bring it to the reapers in the field, when an Angel of the Lord told him, Take the lunch you have to Daniel in the lions’ den at Babylon. But Habacuc answered, Babylon, sir, I have never seen, and I do not know the den! The Angel of the Lord seized him by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den. Daniel, servant of God, cried Habacuc, take the lunch God has sent you. You have remembered me, O God, said Daniel; You have not forsaken those who love You. While Daniel began to eat, the Angel of the Lord at once brought Habacuc back to his own place. (Epistle)
Now we are ready to correlate the theme of Christ’s suffering (typified by Daniel) with that of almsgiving.
Note first that Christ’s passion is continued in His mystical Body, the Church, and that the poor and needy are His tortured members. Almsgiving then, both physical and spiritual, alleviates the passion of the mystical Christ.
Today the connection is even more clear. Now, if ever, we should resemble Habacuc and help a neighbour in trouble. Because of the ‘self-isolation’ and quarantining people, many a Christian lives in a lion pit. Fear about the coronavirus has gripped the world. It is easy for those who are thus self-isolated to become swept up in the doom and gloom. It is true almsgiving to comfort such a person and inspire them with courage and confidence.
Today more than ever, we bitterly need true comforters and helpers. Let us be a 21st Century Habacuc and reach out—as much as possible—for all those Daniels who are living in a lion pit.
Let us make Christian charity go viral!