25Nov 25 November, 2019. Monday of Week 34

1st Reading: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20

Daniel and his companions are respected above the royal counselors in Babylon

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.

The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods. Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans.

The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favour and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.”

Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days.

At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams. At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

Responsorial: from Daniel 3:52-56

R./: Glory and praise for ever.

You are blest, Lord God of our fathers. (R./)

Blest your glorious holy name. (R./)

You are blest in the temple of your glory. (R./)

You are blest on the throne of your kingdom. (R./)

You are blest who gaze into the depths. (R./)

You are blest in the firmament of heaven. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

The widow gave two coppers to the temple, but it means more than the wealthiest of benefactions

One day Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also noticed a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

BIBLE

Motivation matters

Daniel and his three companions had a critical choice to make. Their peaceful existence was disrupted and they had to choose how to adapt to life at the royal court in Babylon. They were willing to adapt, learn the new language and learn Babylonian customs, until these threatend to compromise their fidelity to God. Their absolute refusal to eat unclean food may seem strange to us, but they saw it as vitally important, as part of their Jewish faith. Eventually their courage made them admired and loved, with the message that loyalty to the will of God eventually brings its own reward.

With the help of God our integrity will sustain us through life. The trials of life need not destroy but will ultimately purify us. The widow is praised by Jesus for dropping her last two copper coins into the treasury. By giving all she could not afford, she gave more than the wealthiest donor. We must be ready when the spirit inspires us to go beyond our comfort zone, so as to bond with Jesus who gave himself totally on the cross. The widow contributed her coins anonymously, not caring if nobody saw her gift, never imagining that it would be remembered forever. Only at the end will each of us realise what we have given to our neighbour and to God.


The widow’s mite

The phrase “widow’s mite” conveys the paradox that while giving a large donation, some people are actually sacrificing little, whereas others in giving a little, are actually giving a lot. The widow gave less than others to the temple treasury, but it counted for a lot, because she gave everything she had.

That lesson can apply in our own lives. Sometimes we appear to be contributing little but it’s worth a lot, because we are giving as much as we can. For various reasons, we can be below par. Our health may be impaired; our energy level may be low because of low blood pressure or heart failure. In those circumstances, even to make a little effort can be giving a great deal. The widow reminds us that, even when we have little to give, it can count for a lot in the sight of God


CANDLE

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr

Catherine, born in Alexandria, Egypt, was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of emperor Maxentius. She is said to have visited Maxentius to argue against the imposing of idol-worship; but the emperor had her scourged and imprisoned, then tortured on a spiked wheel and finally beheaded. Her most famous shrine is Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.

Saint Clement of Rome, pope and martyr

Clement I (c. 40-99), also known as Clement of Rome (Latin: Clemens Romanus), was pope in the last decade of the first Christian century. He wrote a pastoral letter to the church at Corinth (1 Clement) in response to a dispute in which some leaders of the Corinthian church had been deposed; he is the first writer to affirm the apostolic authority of the clergy. Imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan, Clement was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. He is considered a patron saint of mariners.

Saint Colman, bishop

Colmán or Colmán mac Léníne (530, 606), was a monk, and founder of the monastery in Cluain Uama, now Cloyne, County Cork. He was one of the earliest known Irish poets to write in the vernacular, and is patron saint of the diocese of Cloyne in East Cork.


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