Monday, 27 November 2017 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passages which told us about Daniel the prophet and servant of God, in how in his youth he was captured by the Babylonians when they sacked Jerusalem and Judah, and brought to Babylon, where he spent his life in exile with many other Israelites. He and some of his fellow countrymen were chosen to be those who would serve the king Nebuchadnezzar.

But Daniel and his compatriots refused to partake in the food and wine which were provided for them by the king’s steward. Why is that so? That is because the food and the wine had likely been used for the offering to the pagan gods, and it was forbidden for them to eat and drink the food and items which had been offered to the pagan gods. Hence, they requested that they be given vegetables instead to eat.

And despite the concerns by the steward, by the grace of God, even though they seemingly have not eaten as much and as lavishly as the other servants, who were fed with the finest worldly food and drink available, Daniel and his friends grew to be healthier and better than those other servants. God was with them, and they were rescued from their predicament.

In the Gospel today, then we heard about the well known story of how Jesus praised the poor old widow for her donation of two small bronze coins to the Temple treasury. He praised her because what she had put inside the treasury is basically she had to survive for herself. Meanwhile, many other rich people came and gave large amount of donations to the Temple treasury, who gave out of their plenty.

In this story, in fact, Jesus did not rebuke or look down on the rich people who have donated to the Temple treasury. What He wanted to point out is the fact that the old widow placed herself so completely in the hands of God that she gave from even her poverty, from what she had enough only to survive for herself. She gave it all to the Lord, without hesitation.

And it was this great faith which the Lord Jesus praised the woman for. It is the same faith which Daniel and his friends had in the Lord, putting their full trust in God. This is also the faith which each one of us as Christians should have and what we are expected to do in our lives as well. We should indeed ask ourselves this question : ‘Have we had the same faith which those people I mentioned, had?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives and our every actions. Let us all think of what we have done thus far in our lives, and let us think if we have placed our trust and faith in God, or whether we have rather placed our trust in our own human power, ability, intellect or skills. Let us all come to the realisation that while all those things can be reliable, but there is nothing that is more reliable or certain as compared to God’s love and grace.

If we place our trust in God, we are essentially building up for ourselves a lasting inheritance that will never run out or perish, unlike if we depend on this world’s goods and our own human abilities, power and intellect. This is what each one of us as Christians must aspire to do, to be truly faithful to God in all the things we do. Let us start from ourselves, by doing what we can to do God’s will, by loving one another, by acting justly and helping those who are in need.

May the Lord be with us always, and bless all of us, just as He has blessed His servants Daniel and his friends, those who have been faithful to Him and remain true to Him despite the challenges and difficulties they faced in their lives. May we all draw ever closer to God, so that in all that we act and do, we will always do them for the greater glory of God. Amen.

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