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NOVEMBER 24. Ord Time B. Wk 34. Wed. Lk 21. 12-19

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.


In the previous reading Christ outlined how, at the end of time, the things of the world, and all their beauty will be destroyed. Today he turns to how the people will also have to endure much suffering as a result of their enemies being in a position of apparent control.


Something we often forget is the Christian vocation has always involved sufferings; - in imitation of Christ; - and that suffering is not pleasant. As a result, we easily slip into a state of mind where we actively endeavour to minimise anything we find unpleasant.


But what Christ is telling us is there is no escaping suffering, and especially at the end of time when his enemies will appear to be the ones in control; - but we are not to fear as these occasions will provide opportunities “to bear witness” to our Faith.


And this will include betrayal “even by parents, brothers, relations and friends, and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all me on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance (in your faith) will win you your lives!”


We must remember God often tests the faith of his followers, and we only have to think of Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his only son; - even after being told he was to be the father of a multitude of nations; - but Abraham was a man of Faith, who trusted in God in the most difficult of circumstances; - and as Christians we are invited to do the same!


And in the same way, in the Old Testament, God’s people were frequently overcome and defeated by their enemies, but the purpose of these defeats was to have the chosen people realise they needed to turn to God in prayer, to trust him, and to not rely on their own efforts; - and the same applies to Christians today


None of us like it when we experience difficulties, especially when they come about from those who are near and dear to us; - but we must remember, as Christians, we are called upon to imitate Christ our teacher and King, who gone ahead of us and endured sufferings and betrayal that were extreme; - so no matter our situation, our trials have no resemblance to what he has endured for our sins.


It must be remembered, when Christ was giving this advice to his disciples he was on the eve of his own passion and death and he was making it clear to his followers that they needed to be ready to endure their own sufferings, and with the same motivation; - the atonement for sin and a way of bearing witness to one’s love of both God and neighbour.


We also need to learn from Christ in the way he embraced suffering. He did so generously as he was aware firstly, it was the Father’s will and, secondly, it contributed to the saving of souls.


Gospel Acclamation Rv2:10


Alleluia, alleluia!

Be faithful until death, says the Lord,

and I will give you the crown of life.

Alleluia!


First reading Daniel 5:1-6,13-14,16-17,23-28 The writing on the wall


King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen; a thousand of them attended, and he drank wine in company with this thousand. As he sipped his wine, Belshazzar gave orders for the gold and silver vessels to be brought which his father Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the sanctuary in Jerusalem, so that the king, his noblemen, his wives and his singing women could drink out of them. The gold and silver vessels looted from the sanctuary of the Temple of God in Jerusalem were brought in, and the king, his noblemen, his wives and his singing women drank out of them. They drank their wine and praised their gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared, and began to write on the plaster of the palace wall, directly behind the lamp-stand; and the king could see the hand as it wrote. The king turned pale with alarm: his thigh-joints went slack and his knees began to knock.


Daniel was brought into the king’s presence; the king said to Daniel, ‘Are you the Daniel who was one of the Judaean exiles brought by my father the king from Judah? I am told that the spirit of God Most Holy lives in you, and that you are known for your perception, intelligence and marvellous wisdom. As I am told that you are able to give interpretations and to unravel difficult problems, if you can read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be dressed in purple, and have a chain of gold put round your neck, and be third in rank in the kingdom.’


Then Daniel spoke up in the presence of the king. ‘Keep your gifts for yourself,’ he said ‘and give your rewards to others. I will read the writing to the king without them, and tell him what it means. You have defied the Lord of heaven, you have had the vessels from his Temple brought to you, and you, your noblemen, your wives and your singing women have drunk your wine out of them. You have praised gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone, which cannot either see, hear or understand; but you have given no glory to the God who holds your breath and all your fortunes in his hands. That is why he has sent the hand which, by itself, has written these words. The writing reads: Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin. The meaning of the words is this: Mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it; Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; Parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.’







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