Reflections on Daily Readings
October 31 - November 27th, 2021
October 31st to November 6th, 2021
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Psalm 17; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28-34
In our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy we see Moses encouraging the people to follow the Law of God and to keep his commandments. If they do this then they will live in the Lord’s favour. The passage concludes with the Shema Israel – the great command to love God which is so central to Jewish faith. In the time of Christ the scribes were a very important group within Judaism because they were the ones who interpreted the Laws and sacred texts for the people. In today’s gospel we see one of the scribes asking Jesus about the most important commandment to which Jesus replies with the Shema Israel which we read in the first reading. The scribe applauds the answer and then goes on to give an explanation of the text and is in turn applauded by Christ because he is so close to the kingdom. The Shema Israel is a text which we too should take to heart and ponder on as it reminds us of the central role which God should play in our hearts and in our lives.
In the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews we are told that Christ’s power to save is utterly certain. Christ is the ultimate high priest who retains his priesthood for ever and whose sacrifice for sin need never again be repeated. In the Temple it was the custom for each high priest to offer regular sacrifices to the Lord to atone for the sins of the people, but for us this was done by Christ and need never again be repeated. Our sins are wiped away and will continue to be wiped away if we turn to the Lord and ask for forgiveness with a genuine heart.
Solemnity of All Saints
Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
Today we celebrate not only the publicly canonised saints but also all those who have reached eternal life with the Lord, including our deceased relatives and friends who have died and are counted among the Communion of Saints.
Solemn Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 26; Romans 5:5-11; Mark 15:33-39, 16:1-6
Today we remember all the members of the Church who have died in Christ. While we remember them at their funerals and anniversaries we also remember them in a very special way on this day and pray for their eternal happiness. On this day, each priest has the privilege of celebrating three Masses.
Romans 13:8-10; Psalm 111; Luke 14:25-33
Love, St Paul tells us today, is the answer to all the commandments. If we live from the well-springs of love then we will have no problem in keeping the commandments and in drawing closer to God and to our neighbours. In the Gospel we see Jesus speaking in parables and laying out clearly what discipleship means. We are each called to be disciples of Christ but that discipleship requires certain commitments on our behalf. Ultimately we must place Christ at the very centre of our lives and before all other things, including family. Becoming a disciple is not an easy thing and so we must weigh it up very carefully but, ultimately, if we do take up the call then the reward will be great indeed.
Memorial of St Malachy, Bishop
Malachy O’More was born in 1095 at Armagh. He was known for his zeal and vigour and was Abbot of Bangor, Bishop of Connor and then Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. When the Irish Church was reorganised in 1139 he resigned and went on pilgrimage to Rome. On the way he stayed at Clairvaux where he became friends with St Bernard and arranged for the Cistercians to come to Ireland where they established their first monastery at Mellifont. On his second journey to Rome he again stayed at Clairvaux where he died in St Bernard’s arms in 1148. He was the first Irish saint to be formally canonized.
Romans 14:7-12; Psalm 26; Luke 15:1-10
In the first reading today St Paul reminds us that we are all sons and daughters of God and that we must not judge others. When our time on this earth comes to an end we will each be judged by the Father. We have enough to do to make sure that we ourselves pass the great judgement without commenting on how others may fare at their judgement – we will only be judged on the state of our own souls. He also says that Christ is sovereign over the living and the dead – he is the supreme Lord of Creation. In our Gospel we see the scribes and Pharisees complaining that Jesus was spending time with sinners. But he tells them that they are the very people that he needs to spend time with because those who are faithful to God and without sin are already on the path to salvation, while those who are still sinning are the ones in need of conversion. The just need no further guidance but the sinner does. We should ask ourselves today which category we fall into and why, and, answering that, what are we going to do to make ourselves more worthy of the kingdom.
Memorial of St Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Charles was born in 1538 to a privileged background – his mother was a Medici. Though he was ordained a priest in 1563 he had been made a cardinal three years earlier by his uncle, Pope Pius IV. He was responsible in part for reassembling the Council of Trent but his greatest achievement was in sorting out his own diocese and improving the liturgy there. He was also the first to begin what are known as “Sunday Schools.” He was selfless during the plague and was one of the greatest churchmen of the Counter-Reformation. He died in 1584 and was canonized in 1610.
Romans 15:14-21; Psalm 97; Luke 16:1-8
As St Paul concludes his letter to the Romans he again reminds them that what he does he does for Christ and not for his own glory. Paul is but an instrument for Christ and goes where the message has not been preached so as to bring the Good News of salvation to as many people as possible. Today’s passage from St Luke’s Gospel is an odd one because on first reading it appears that Christ is suggesting that we should imitate the wrongly-accused steward who sought to get even with the master who was about to punish him. But if we read it at a different level we see that at the end of the passage the master praises the steward and does not punish him even though the steward’s actions to protect himself meant that his master lost some of his due. The parable therefore is one about loving one’s enemies because the master praised rather than punished the servant. We too are called on to love our enemies though this is not always an easy thing to do but it is what is required of those who wish to be true disciples of Christ. There is also a reminder that we will often do whatever we can to ‘save our neck’ in this life but will do little to save our salvation for the next life until it is too late.
Feast of All the Saints of Ireland
Hebrews 11:2, 12:1-4, 15, 13:1 or Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15; Psalm 125; Luke 6:20-26
On November 1st we celebrated the Feast of All Saints. Today we remember in a particular way all those Irish men and women who make up part of the Communion of Saints.
Memorial of St Nuno Alvares Pereira, Carmelite
Nuno Alvares Pereira was born in 1360 near Crato in central Portugal. He became a soldier and rose through the ranks becoming the champion of Portuguese independence. He was most decisive in ensuring Portuguese independence from the kingdom of Castile between 1383 and 1385, for which he was named Protector and Constable of Portugal. He married at the age of sixteen and his wife gave birth to three children, the two boys dying early in life. After his wife had died, Nuno joined the Carmelites in 1423 and entered the Carmo Convent in Lisbon (which he himself had founded in fulfilment of a vow, one of several churches and monasteries he had built). In religious life he remained a favourite of the king and the royal court who would not allow him to give up all his possessions or titles (he was Count of all three countdoms in the kingdom). Devoted to Our Lady, he took the religious name Brother Nuno of St Mary and lived in the Carmo until his death in 1431. He was canonized in 2009.
November 7th to November 13th, 2021
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Second Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
1Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 145; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44
In the first reading from the first book of the Kings we see the great Prophet Elijah arriving in the town of Sidon. There he meets a widow and asks her to make some bread for him. The widow replies that she and her son have nothing but Elijah tells her not to worry for she will not die of starvation if she does as he asks. The widow trusts him and the words which the Lord addressed to her through Elijah and so she goes and makes some bread for him and, miraculously, there is more than enough for her son and for her to live on. The Psalm is a psalm of praise for all that the Lord does for us. In the gospel text from St Mark we see Jesus teaching the people. He sees a widow putting two small coins in the collection plate while several wealthy men put in a lot more. However, Christ praises the widow because unlike the men she had no surplus and so the money she contributed was money that she needed to live on while the men put in money which they would not miss. We are reminded in this text that being charitable with our surplus wealth is very easy while giving of what we need is something very different but is what we are called to do as Christians. Only in this way can we truly show to others the love of God present in our world. As Christ gave all that he had for our sakes so we are called on to give of what we need for his sake.
We are again reminded in our second reading today from the letter to the Hebrews that Christ has abolished all sacrifice for sin by his sacrifice of himself on the cross. Therefore we should live as a redeemed people who believe in their redemption and who want to enter eternal life.
Wisdom 1:1-7; Psalm 138; Luke 17:1-6
For the final few weeks of the Church’s year we return to the Old Testament and this week we read from the Book of Wisdom which was written about the year 50 BC in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and attributed to King Solomon. In the opening section we are told that Wisdom is a friend to man but will not make itself known to those who try to test it or seek to outsmart it. Neither will it be found by those who devote their lives to sin. Wisdom is the Spirit of God who moves throughout the world. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that we must forgive those who have done wrong to us if they come back and seek forgiveness. No matter how often someone may wrong us if they come seeking forgiveness then we must forgive them. In the same way we too should seek forgiveness of those whom we have hurt, and that includes God. We cannot go to God to seek forgiveness if we do not forgive others and we cannot expect others to forgive us if we do not seek their forgiveness and acknowledge that what we ourselves have done is wrong.
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 or 1 Cor 3:9-11, 16-17; Psalm 45; John 2:13-22
The Church commonly known as the Basilica of St John Lateran is actually dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour and St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist and was first dedicated in 324 AD. It derives its importance from the fact that it is the “Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head” (Sacrosancta Lateranensis ecclesia omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput – from an inscription on the front wall of the church). This basilica is also the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy – the Pope (St Peter’s in the Vatican is a basilica but not a Cathedral Church). In celebrating its dedication we celebrate the dedication of our own local churches also for they are all joined together.
Wisdom 6:1-11; Psalm 81; Luke 17:11-19
In the first reading today the author reminds rulers of nations that they hold office from God in whose name they must govern the people. Those who abuse their office and act unjustly and unlawfully will be punished by the Lord. But those who have been merciful will be rewarded by God. In our Gospel text, we have the story of Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers. He cures all ten but only one comes back to thank Jesus and he the foreigner among them. This is a reminder that we have all received something from God’s bounty and we must all give thanks to him. Sadly, it happens all too often that those who have grown up in the faith have taken such generosity for granted and so fail to thank God unlike those who have come to knowledge of God later in life than most and who fully appreciate what it is that they have received. Let us spend some time today giving thanks to God for what it is that we have received.
Memorial of Pope St Leo the Great
Leo I was elected pope in 440 at a time when there were several heresies regarding the person of Jesus Christ prevalent in the Church. Nestorianism held that the two natures of Christ – the human and divine – were two completely separate persons while Monophysitism held that Jesus only had one nature as the human nature was replaced by his divine nature. Leo fought against these two maintaining that the human and divine natures of Christ are both present and inseparable. This he laid out in his ‘Dogmatic Letter’ to Flavian of Constantinople and which became a key discussion at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Leo prevailed and his teaching is part of our faith to this day. At a time when civil order was breaking down in the Roman Empire he gave the Church an important role in civil and political society when he negotiated with Attila the Hun and Genseric the Vandal. He died in 461.
Wisdom 7:22-8:1; Psalm 118; Luke 17:20-25
In the opening part of today’s first reading we read of some of the qualities of Wisdom. This passage gave rise to many others in the New Testament and also gave rise to Wisdom being identified as the Son of God because of the qualities described here. In the second part we read that Wisdom moves through all things and through all generations leading people to the knowledge of God. The Psalm tells us that the word of God stands unchanging and for ever. In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the coming of the kingdom will not be something that can be seen, in fact it has already arrived. The kingdom of God is already among us and we should waste no time looking for signs but should live as members of that kingdom. We are reminded not to be as blind as the Pharisees who failed to see in his teaching and preaching the presence of the kingdom among them.
Memorial of St Martin of Tours, Bishop
Martin was born about the year 335 to a Roman officer and was himself drafted into the army. However, he believed that Christians should not take part in war and he refused to take part. He was a disciple of St Hilary of Poitiers and founded a community of hermit-monks which later became a Benedictine monastery. Reluctantly he was elected Bishop of Tours in 371, though he continued his monastic lifestyle as much as possible. He brought monasticism to Gaul and had a considerable influence on the Celtic churches. He died in 397.
Wisdom 13:1-9; Psalm 18; Luke 17:26-37
The author of the book of Wisdom questions how men of learning and science can understand so many things and yet fail to understand or come to know God. God is in all the things that they study and understand and yet they fail to see him. The author of Wisdom, while saying that the pagans are misguided for their worship of nature, does say that unlike the Jews of their day, the pagans do actually worship God in his creation though without realising it. The Psalm also tells us that the heavens proclaim the glory of God. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that the glory of the Son of Man will be revealed suddenly. He reminds us of Noah and Lot who heeded the Lord’s word and were saved while those who did not, perished. We do not know when the Lord will call each one of us to give an account of our stewardship so we must always be ready for that day.
Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr
Josaphat was born about the year 1580 in Vladimir in the Ukraine. He became a Byzantine Rite monk and later abbot of Vilna at a time when the Orthodox Dioceses in Kiev were united with the Holy See and to this union he devoted his life. In 1617 he was made Archbishop of Polotsk where he touched the lives of many people through his gentleness and wisdom. For his efforts to bring about union with Rome he was murdered by a mob in White Russia in 1623.
Wisdom 18:14-16, 19:6-9; Psalm 104; Luke 18:1-8
In the first reading today we are reminded of the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and how they passed through the Red Sea in safety. This was done because the Lord was faithful to his people. It also reminds the people how nature can be controlled by God to bring good thing to those who fear him but punishment on those who do not carry out his will. The Psalm continues this theme and calls on us to remember all that the Lord has done for his people. In the Gospel we are told by Christ that those who call to the Lord and who seek justice will be helped by the Lord even if that help appears to be slow in coming. No matter what happens we must never lose trust in the Lord but must continue to make our prayers known to the Lord in trusting confidence.
November 14th to November 20th, 2021
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Daniel 12:1-13; Psalm 15; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32
The Book of the Prophet Daniel is the earliest statement of belief in the resurrection of the dead in the Old Testament. The author speaks of those who have been “sleeping in the dust” coming back to life. Of those who come back to life some will go on to everlasting life while others to eternal shame. The Psalm asks God to keep us faithful to him. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man will come in his glory and will gather to himself all those who have been faithful to him. The text reminds us that this will be at a time that we do not know and so we must always be prepared. Jesus also tells us that his words will never pass away but will always be there to remind the people of the faith. No matter what might happen in our world the message of Christ will never be silenced.
In the second reading, the author reminds us that through his suffering and death on the cross, Christ has perfected us. We no longer have to make offerings for sins, for Christ has made the one eternal offering which was himself. To enter heaven therefore, we need only to believe in Christ, to confess our sins and to live out our faith as we are called to do.
All Carmelite Saints
Romans 8:28-35, 37-39; Psalm 23; Matthew 5:1-12
Today we remember all those members of the Carmelite Family whose heroic lives have pointed the way to heaven for us and who have been recognised as saints and blesseds. Our first reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans speaks of how God wants all people to become true images of his own divine Son. All those he intends for this have been called by him and with them he shares his glory. If we too believe then we will follow the example of how the saints lived their lives, in fidelity to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. In this way, we too will share the Father’s glory in eternity.
The Gospel text from St Matthew gives the account of the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes. The text reminds us that the Lord is with us and that those who suffer rejection, or humiliation, or even death, for the sake of the Kingdom will enjoy life in the Kingdom. Far from being downcast at being ill-treated for the sake of the Gospel, the people are to be happy because they will be rewarded for their faithfulness. The saints would have been aware of this text and would no doubt have taken great courage from its message and so have won the crown of righteousness.
All Carmelite Souls
Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12; Psalm 114; Matthew 25:31-46
Today we commemorate all those members of the Carmelite Family who have gone before us to their eternal reward. In our first reading from the letter to the Romans, St Paul reminds us that when we are called from this life each of us will have to stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives. We belong to the Lord and so we must live life accordingly, because in doing so we secure our entry to the Kingdom.
Our gospel today sees Jesus teaching his disciples about the judgement of God and takes up the same theme as the first reading. He tells them, as he tells us today, that those who do the will of God will enter and inherit the Kingdom of heaven, while those who refuse to reach out to their brothers and sisters in their need, will not enter the Kingdom for they have rejected God by their very rejection of others. If we too want to be part of the Kingdom, then we must reach out to others every day. There is a powerful reminder that Jesus Christ is to be found in every person we meet or encounter regardless of what we think of them or how they are presented to us.
2 Maccabees 6:18-31; Psalm 3; Luke 19:1-10
In today’s passage from the second book of the Maccabees we read of the courage and the martyrdom of Eleazar. He was an elderly Jew when the king ordered profane sacrifices to be made but Eleazar, believing in the one true God, refused to even give the semblance of giving in and betraying his God. He preferred to be an example to young and old to the death and so he died for what he believed knowing that God would look after him. The Psalm could easily have been the prayer on Eleazar’s lips as he was being martyred. In the Gospel we read of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, the tax collector. The people are indignant that he should visit with such a sinner but during the course of the evening Zacchaeus converts and makes amends for what he has done wrong. It is a reminder to us that we should never judge others because we do not know what they are like deep down and also that the Word of God is available to all people and that it has the power to work miracles in everyone.
2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31; Psalm 16; Luke 19:11-28
Today we read of the slaughter of seven sons before the eyes of their mother. They had been arrested for not carrying out the pagan king’s profanities but for standing by their faith. The mother is implored to save the lives of her sons but she too stands by the faith and so they die the death of martyrs. She is the last to die having watched each of her sons – from the eldest to the youngest – put to death before her eyes. The Psalm is a prayer of the faithful before God. In today’s Gospel passage we have the parable of the man who went abroad to become king and left his possessions with his servants. In this parable Jesus is talking of himself and when he returns he will ask each person for an account of their stewardship. Those who have been faithful will be greatly rewarded. Those who have refused his kingship will be punished. It is a reminder that being a true Christian will involve a certain amount of risk-taking in this life – but there will be no reward without risk-taking.
Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Andreas II of Hungary and niece of St Hedwig, was born in Bratislava (in modern-day Slovakia) in 1207. At the age of fourteen she married Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (Blessed Louis of Thuringia) and they had three children. Six years later, in 1227, her world was shattered when Louis died in a crusade. Eventually she gave up her finery and became a Third Order Franciscan and devoted her life to the poor – work which she had begun when Louis was alive and for which her in-laws were not happy but unable to do anything about while Louis lived. She died in 1231, aged 24.
1 Maccabees 2:15-29; Psalm 49; Luke 19:41-44
In our reading today from the first book of the Maccabees we read of a revolt against the pagan king Antiochus and his acolytes. Mattathias protects the integrity of the altar erected for lawful sacrifice offered to God by slaying the one who was attempting to commit a pagan act. He then goes on to slay the king’s commissioners and to rally the people. With the help of his five sons and some of his neighbours, his act of defiance lasted about three years in the small town of Modein, about 24 kilometres northwest of Jerusalem. In our Gospel text we see Jesus arriving at Jerusalem and he pauses before going in to the city. He pauses to weep at the stubbornness and the blindness of the people who have heard his teachings and seen his miracles and yet fail to see that he is their Messiah. Despite their rejection of him, Jesus still loves the people as he loves each one of us whether we wish to acknowledge that love or not.
1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59; Psalm – 1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Luke 19:45-48
In our first reading today we see that Judas Maccabeus (whose surname is the Hebrew word for hammer) and his followers have been successful in their revolt and have liberated the people about the year 165-164 BC. The first thing they set about doing is cleansing and re-dedicating the Temple in their joy at being free to worship the true God. This rededication is recalled in the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) which coincides with our Christmas. The Psalm is a hymn of praise for God. In our Gospel we see that Jesus has entered Jerusalem and now takes possession of the Temple. As Judas Maccabeus and his followers cleansed the Temple so Christ drives out from the Temple all those who were defiling it. Christ is now moving closer to his crucifixion as the officials become worried about his preaching and seek an opportunity to be rid of him.
1 Maccabees 6:1-13; Psalm 9; Luke 20:27-40
Today’s first reading sees the pagan king Antiochus returning to his home having found out about the fall of his forces in Jerusalem. He takes to his bed and soon is at death’s door where he realises that he is dying as a result of his greed. In the Gospel, Jesus is quizzed by the Sadducees about life after death. He tells them that God is a God of the living, that there is life after we have died and that our earthly marriages are of no consequence there. Some of those who were listening only accepted the Torah as being authoritative and quote Moses against Jesus and so he quotes Abraham and others to show that he is right in what he says. What is important is that we live in such a way that we will be worthy of heaven.
November 21st to November 27th, 2021
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 92; Apocalypse 1:5-8; John 18:33-37
The last Sunday of the Church’s year is always celebrated as the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. It is a reminder that everything comes form God through Jesus who is king of all. The first reading is taken from the vision of Daniel in the Old Testament in which Daniel sees the sovereignty and eternal kingdom bestowed upon the Son of Man. In the second reading from the Book of the Apocalypse we read that not only has the Son of Man been made universal king, but that he has also made us a line of kings to carry on his work and to serve God. In the Gospel we read from St John’s account of the Passion of Christ and in the excerpt we have we see Jesus standing before Pilate who asks him if he is a king. He tells Pilate that he is but not of the same sort of kingdom that Pilate would be familiar with. An important element in the account is that Christ tells Pilate that he was born in order to serve the truth and that all those who believe in the truth will listen to him.
Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20; Psalm – Daniel 3:52-56; Luke 21:1-4
For the last week of the Church’s year we read from the Book of Daniel written in 165-168 BC but including events as far back as the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar in 605-562 BC. The king enforced his own religion and had four young Israelites brought to his palace to be educated. These were placed in the care of Ashpenaz who educated them but helped them to avoid some of the pagan practices of the king. These four – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah – became friends of the king because of their wisdom which had been given them by God. The book was written to strengthen the faith of the people who were being suppressed by the Syrians. The Psalm is a hymn of praise for God. In the Gospel we see a poor widow putting all she had in to the collection plate in the synagogue. Jesus praises her because from what she needed to survive she gave all she could to help others. It is easy for us all to put something in the plate when it comes from the surplus that we have and doesn’t really make a difference to our daily lives. True charity is when we gave from what we need to live each day and this is what we are called to do as followers of Christ.
Daniel 2:31-45; Psalm – Daniel 3:57-61; Luke 21:5-11
In our reading today from the book of Daniel we read that King Nebuchadnezzar has had a vision and is unable to interpret it. Daniel is brought to him and tells him what he has seen and interprets the vision. Daniel predicts that the king’s successors will not be as successful as he for they will turn from God and so their kingdom and his line will fall. It is a reminder for the people of the second century before Christ, who are under the rule of the Syrians, that the Syrian kingdom too will fall as its king does not worship the one true God. Our Psalm is again one of thanksgiving taken from the third chapter of the book of Daniel. In the Gospel, Jesus predicts the demise of the Temple which was so central to the Jewish faith and nation. He also warns his audience not to listen to those who will come pretending to be him for there is only one Messiah and he has given us the message of salvation and shown us the way to reach that salvation.
Memorial of St Columban, Abbot
Columban was born in Leinster in the mid-sixth century and became a monk. He left Bangor for France and founded the famous monastery of Luxeuil in the Vosges. In 610 he was exiled from France by Queen Brunhilda and went to Italy where he founded the equally famous monastery of Bobbio. He defended and maintained Irish customs and his strict Rule was very influential on European monasticism during the sixth and seventh centuries. He died in Bobbio in 615.
Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28; Psalm – Daniel 3:62-67; Luke 21:12-19
In our passage from the book of Daniel for today we see that King Nebuchadnezzar has been succeeded by his descendent, Belshazzar, who profanes the sacred vessels brought from the Temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. During the banquet a hand writes on the wall and the only one who can interpret it is Daniel. He predicts that Belshazzar’s kingdom is to come to an end and will be split between two of his rivals. It is a further reminder to the persecuted Jews of the second century BC that the reigning king of Syria will fall because he does not worship the true God. Our Psalm continues to be taken from the book of Daniel. In today’s Gospel passage we see Jesus warning his disciples that difficult times lie ahead for them because they are his followers and that some will die as a result. He tells them not to prepare their defence but to trust in him for he will be their protection and their defence.
Memorial of St Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Martyrs
Andrew Dung-Lac was a Vietnamese priest who worked to spread the Gospel in what was formerly known as Indo-China (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand). Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many Christians were martyred in Vietnam and the region for their faith – the first being Vincent Liem, O.P., who was beheaded in 1773. Today’s memorial commemorates 96 native Vietnamese men and women, 11 Dominican missionaries from Spain, and 10 French missionaries. Andrew Dung-Lac was born in 1795 and was beheaded on December 21, 1839.
Daniel 6:12-28; Psalm – Daniel 3:68-74; Luke 21:20-28
In our first reading we see Daniel being thrown in to the lions’ den because he was praying to God and not to the king, though this greatly distressed the king for he was fond of Daniel. But Daniel was unhurt because he trusted in God and the king issued a decree that all his people were to tremble before the God whom Daniel worshipped. It is a reminder to the people of the second century before Christ who were persecuted by the Syrians to always remain faithful to God who will be their defender when the day comes. Christ again foretells the destruction of Jerusalem in our Gospel for today. He also makes reference to the end times when the Son of God will appear in all his glory to bring to himself the righteous.
Daniel 7:2-14; Psalm – Daniel 3:75-81; Luke 21:29-33
In our reading from the book of Daniel we read of a vision which Daniel had in which he sees the coming of the Son of God. On this Son is conferred the sovereignty of the earth and this sovereignty will be eternal. There are four visions in this section of the book and which are explained in tomorrow’s passage. One of the visions speaks of “one like a son of man, coming on the clouds of heaven.” This is an image which Our Lord used of himself in his teaching. In our Gospel text Jesus speaks to the disciples about how people are able to read the signs of the seasons. In the same way these signs will indicate that the kingdom is at hand and that while people may die the words of Christ will never pass away.
Daniel 7:15-27; Psalm – Daniel 3:82-87; Luke 21:34-36
Again today we read from Daniel’s vision and at the end we are told that the sovereignty conferred on the Son of God will also pass to the saints of God and so we too become a line of kings to continue the kingdom. In our final Gospel passage for this liturgical year we are reminded by Christ to always be on our guard against anything that would lead us away from God. We do not know when the end will come – today, tomorrow or next year – and so we must always be ready to answer the call of God and to stand before him with confidence.