Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the readings today we continue the discourse from the Book of the prophet Daniel as our first reading, where we heard how the successor of Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon, Belshazzar, sinned greatly against God because he disrespected the sanctity of God’s Temple and its various precious vessels, reserved solely for the use of worship, and used them in his parties and merrymaking.
The king then saw hands writing on the wall of his palace, and was terrified. When he asked Daniel, he received a premonition of destruction and wrath of God, as the Lord was angry at him for desecrating and disrespecting His Temple and its vessels. Yet, the king refused to listen to Daniel, and bestowed on him much honour and prestige. That very night, the armies of Cyrus, king of Persia came quietly and defeated Belshazzar and seized his kingdom from him.
This was just the beginning of the salvation for the people of God, the exiles from Israel and Judah, who had languished in exile for seventy years or so by that time. The people of Israel would be freed by king Cyrus of Persia and was free to return to their own land. He even mandated the rebuilding of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
In the Gospel passage today, we see how the same theme applies, as the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples that the reality of their discipleship is one of persecution and difficulty, as there would surely be challenges and opposition which they will face. He was preparing them for the difficult time ahead, when they would be persecuted and arrested because of their faith in Him and because they preached in His Name.
But the Lord reassured them that He would be with them, and that they did not need to worry, because even though their closest relatives and friends might betray them, the Lord will always be faithful and He will not abandon them. Even though they suffer and feel anguish in pain, but the Lord will ultimately remember all their deeds and faith without exception, and He will bring them out of their predicament.
How do all these relate to us, then, brothers and sisters in Christ? We are all God’s people, and we have walked in His path, and sometimes we do stumble on the way. Nevertheless, as long as we are faithful to the Lord, and continue to walk in His path, there will surely be moments when we will even want to give up walking with God because of all the temptations, difficulties and obstacles we will face on our way.
Are we able to resist the temptations and pressures for us to give up our faith, the temptation to give in just because we think that the world has more to offer us, in both joy and pleasure, in satisfaction and happiness as compared to God? Then, let us all always remember of what we have heard in the Scripture passages today, that not even the mightiest of kings and rulers would be exempt from their fate, that is death. Not even their glory and worldly power will be able to save them from the final judgment, in which the Lord, the Author of all power and authority will judge them depending on their deeds in life.
The Lord is the only one Who we can completely trust our whole life to, and not to any man or beings in this world, and He is always faithful even though we have often been unfaithful. Now, what matters is for us to recommit ourselves and reorientate our lives, that we will no longer fall into the temptations to disobey God and sin, but instead, persevere to live faithfully in accordance with God’s will, and loving Him to the best of our abilities. May God be with us always and bless us all. Amen.