Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks For Everything To God The Father In The Name Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s First Reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (6:12-28)

When Darius assumed the royal throne of Babylon, Daniel, now an old man, was appointed one of the three closest advisers to the king. The other two tried to find something to accuse him of, but he performed his duties better than they did. They decided to persuade the king to issue a decree that, for the next thirty days, anyone who prays to any god or man other than the king would be cast into a den of lions. This would be a law for Medes and Persians, and for everyone who lives in Darius’ kingdom. So the king signed the law.

When Daniel heard that the king had signed the law, he went home and climbed the stairs to the upper room, where the windows opened facing in the direction of Jerusalem. He knelt and prayed to God, as he did every day. Then some of the king’s men rushed into Daniel’s home, and went upstairs, where they found him praying to his God. They then went to the king, and reminded him of his decree: “Didn’t you order that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to a god or a man other than yourself should be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered: “The decree must stand, in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, since a royal command cannot be repealed.”

Then the officials and rulers said to the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day." When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed."

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel to the lions' den and threw him in. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"

A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation could not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?"

Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:
"May you prosper greatly!
"I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

"For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.

He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions."

Responsorial Psalm
Daniel 3

R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

“Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Nights and days, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Lightning and clouds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

“Let the earth bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”

R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Luke 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:

“When armies surround Jerusalem, you will know that they will soon destroy it. Then those people who are in Judea must escape to the hills. The people who are in the city of Jerusalem must leave. The people who are out in the country must not return to the city. This will be the time of punishment, when all that has been written in the scriptures will be fulfilled. How terrible it will be in those days for women who are expecting babies, and mothers with little children! Terrible suffering will come upon this land, and God will punish these people. Some will fall by the sword and others will be taken as prisoners to other nations. Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.

“There will be strange signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, entire nations will be in anguish, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the tossing of the waves. People will faint with terror, fearful of what is happening to their world, for the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. When these things start to happen, stand up, and lift your heads, because the time of your redemption is close at hand.”


About 40 years later, Roman armies camped outside Jerusalem for about 5 months. The people in the city were starving. They were so desperate that they were even prepared to eat human bodies. Jesus had warned his disciples to leave the city. They did. They escaped to Pella, a city on the east side of the river Jordan. In the Hebrew scriptures, the prophets had warned that God would punish his people for their wickedness. The Jews of his own times had not heeded the warning, and they too would perish.

Jesus was especially concerned for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Not only would they suffer, but they would watch their own children starve to death. Thousands would die when the Romans breached the city walls, and thousands more were carried off into exile not only to Rome itself, but to Roman colonies in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe.

The Hebrew prophets often wrote about strange events in the sky. These were considered to be omens of God’s impending judgment. The earth would become dark, because the sun, moon and stars would not give their light (Amos 8:9; Joel 3:15). When these events prophesied by Jesus begin to occur, the same sort of signs will appear. The sea will be much more stormy than usual, and the sky will be shaken. The Greek word used here is seismos, which usually refers to an earthquake. But these phenomena will be happening not only on the earth and the sea, but in the sky.

In the Bible, a cloud was often a sign that God was present (cf. Exodus 13:21, Daniel 7:13). The cloud filtered the brilliant light that surrounded the Godhead. When Jesus says that he will come in a cloud with great power and glory, he is announcing to the disciples – and to us – that he is “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God” (the Nicene Creed).

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By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

When I look at the slaughter of the wives and children in Daniel and the prophecy of their slaughter in Luke, I try to understand why the punishment is so terrible. Daniel's colleagues and the instigators of the Bar Kochba revolt both used religion to justify violence in the pursuit of power. They also called someone divine who wasn't. It's as though any attempt to paganize God's religion will incur the most brutal punishment pagan governments can inflict.

Waves are most destructive near the shore and buildings actually increase wind speed in a storm. Maybe there is a similar effect when we overstep religious boundaries.