In John’s gospel proclaimed at mass on the Feast of Christ the King, Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king to which Jesus said “my kingdom was not of this world”. In the Scripture reading from the Book of Daniel today we were introduced to King Nebuchadnezzar who was of this world. He was bent on destroying the religious beliefs of four young men, among them Daniel, offering them special favors in the hopes of winning them over to a pagan culture.
Daniel resisted. He remained faithful during a time of trial. For this he was rewarded with the gifts of knowledge and wisdom which allowed Daniel to faithfully resist the evil designs of the king and his court. The story of Daniel’s resistance and fidelity provided hope and encouragement to people who were oppressed and persecuted for their beliefs. It is a story that is intended to do the same for us today along with the account of the widow who gave of her poverty and St. Cecilia who was martyred for her beliefs.
As for the widow, Jesus told the account to make a simple point. Having practically nothing she continued to trust in God to the extent that she was willing to give all that she had believing that God would provide. Her trust in God enabled her to remain faithful during times of trial.
This was true of St. Cecilia one of the most popular saints to come down to us from the 3rd century. She was a noble Roman woman who along with her husband Valerian and his brother, both of whom she was instrumental in converting to Christianity, were beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. Her fame spread particularly in the 5th century, when people were producing art and story that immortalized her.
Daniel, the widow, and Saint Cecelia; all three serve as inspiration for us today who face our own struggles and challenges to remain faithful. We saw how each received unique gifts from God for their fidelity. Daniel, wisdom and knowledge, the widow, recognition and appreciation from Jesus; and St. Cecilia, the gift of martyrdom.
As we are about to enter the season of Advent may the light of faith that permeated the lives of Daniel, the widow and Cecilia rest upon us who may find life challenging, and our faith depleted at this time of year. May we pray to have our faith restored.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!