The holy prophet Daniel and the 3 Holy Children: Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael: all four of these young men were members of the tribe of Judah, deported to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem. Daniel is counted as one of the 4 major prophets along with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekial. The Holy Youths Ananais (“God is gracious”), Azarias (“whom God helps”), and Mishael (“Who is what God is?”) were companions of the holy prophet Daniel. They were chosen to serve in the king’s palace with Daniel (Daniel 1:6) and were all from the tribe of Judah. They gave Ananias the Chaldean name Shadrach (“royal”), Azarias the Chaldean name Abednego (“servant of Nego”), and Misael the Chaldean name Meshach (“guest”). They were thrown into a fiery furnace when they refused to worship the golden idol set up by King Nebuchadnezzar, but the angel of the Lord preserved them (Daniel 3:25).
Great are the accomplishments of faith: the three holy youths rejoiced in the streams of fire as if in refreshing waters; and Daniel the prophet shepherded lions like sheep. Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Your pure heart was enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that it could become an instrument of prophecy; you perceived distant events as if they were present. When you were thrown into the pit, you stopped the lions’ mouths. Therefore, we honor you, O blessed and glorious prophet Daniel.
You did not worship a man-made image, O thrice-blessed youths. You armed yourselves with uncreated divinity. You were glorified in the trial by fire. Withstanding the flames, you stood and called out: Hasten, O compassionate God, and hurry to help us in Your mercy. For You can do whatever You will.
Ephesians 1: 16-23
Brothers and sisters: I have never stopped thanking God for you and recommending you in my prayers. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know him clearly. May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe. It is like the strength he showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand in heaven, high above every principality, power, virtue, and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or in the age to come. He has put all things under Christ’s feet and has made him, this exalted, head of the church, which is his body: the fullness of him who fills the universe in all its parts.
Matthew 24: 34-37, 42-44
The Lord said to his disciples: “I assure you, the present generation will not pass away until all this (stress) takes place. The heavens and the earth will pass away but my words will not pass. As for the exact day or hour, no one knows it, neither the angels in heaven not the Son, but the Father only. The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in the time of Noah.
Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming. Be sure of this: if the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming he would keep a watchful eye and not allow his house to be broken into. You ,ust be prepared in the same way. The Son of Man is coming at the time you least expect.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, December 16 –