Dn. 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62 Jn. 8:1-11
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“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” - Edmund Burke
Have you ever seen something that you knew was wrong but didn’t say anything about it? I know if I’m honest with myself, I would have to answer that I often stay silent in times like these. I would love to say that I am a hero of the good and that whenever I see an instance of injustice or evil in our world that I stand up for what is right, no matter the risk or the consequences for myself. But the truth is that I often do not stand up like I should, and I even make excuses to justify it to myself that it’s not the right time to take a stand right now.
But in today’s reading, I am reminded of how we are called to stand against injustice and speak truth to power. There were many reasons that Daniel could have used to justify why he should remain silent. For one, the reading tells us he was a “young man” in the crowd. He was a nobody in the crowd, and he did not have the luxury of old age to back up his wisdom. He must have been wondering, “How seriously will I be taken?”
But, ultimately, he decided that regardless of the many societal reasons to stay silent, God calls all of us to speak out against what’s wrong. He exclaims that he will have no part in the death of Susanna, who he knew was unjustly sentenced to death. He knew that to say nothing would be nothing less than contributing to this injustice. But by speaking up, he was able to reverse the injustice of this act and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Daniel’s courage in this story is incredible and inspires me to speak up against injustice in whatever capacity it is manifested. From small instances of unfairness in our own lives, to raising awareness of global social structures which keep people marginalized and oppressed, God is calling us to speak out and to be a light to the world. During this Lenten season, it is especially important to stand up against injustice and to work for the kingdom of heaven on earth that Christ stood for.
Scott Hessel, sophomore studying English and Theology with a certificate in Urban Social Analysis, companion for the Micah Program, and Vice President of Internal Affairs-elect for Student Government Association