The story of the prophet Daniel has always been colorful to me. When I was younger I used to read from the animated books of the Bible where the stories come to life through pages and pages of drawing. The episode on Daniel in the lion’s den, this morning’s first reading, always captured my imagination because of its intrigue.
What is really intriguing in life is how, just like the courtesans of the King, we tend to weaponize rules and law in order to put down people. Knowing that Daniel continues to pray to his God in the secret of his quarters despite the royal decree, they brought the pious man to trial and forced the King to apply the law and condemn the prophet to death. We were taught that the rules and law are imposed for social order and for greater personal freedom. Here, they become weapons of death.
Such intrigues are common especially when politics and power struggle are present. In the greed for prestige and power, people will do anything and use anything to get ahead. Jesus has always been against this use of the Law and has always reminded his disciples to go back to the Spirit of the law, to the very purpose why they were put up.
We all run the risk of legalism, and worse weaponizing what should have been a tool for harmony and freedom. When asked to impose the law, let us always remember that the greatest law is mercy and love, and that the end of rules and regulations is the betterment of each human person. The law serves humanity, not the other way around.
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