READINGS for 2007-11-26
INNER, MIDDLE, OUTER
But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself... - Daniel 1:8
Inner, middle and outer circle.
This is one exercise addiction therapists recommend. It goes something like this: Draw three concentric circles. In the inner circle, they identify whatever activities will make them reset their sobriety clock – activities that are considered slips or relapses: a sip of vodka for an alcoholic, a sniff of cocaine for a drug addict.
The middle circle lets them identify all activities that may not necessarily be considered a slip but may lead them to the inner circle: A visit to a favorite bar or a trip to the neighborhood where the source is.
Then the outer circle notes all related activities that lead to positive sobriety: For the alcoholic, this may mean coffee with friends instead of several rounds of beer. For the drug addict, this may be as simple as hanging out with friends who are striving to be sober as well.
Quite a helpful but tedious exercise, you think? Well, Daniel did precisely the same thing in our reading today. He set boundaries so he would be less tempted to compromise.
You might want to check where those you’ve set up are today. Roy M.
What are your boundaries?
Lord, help me set boundaries. Not to keep people out. But to know what my limits are.
Wisdom regarding life and its problems seems to have been a universally sought after virtue in ancient times. We read today about the respect that King Nebuchadnezzar had for Daniel and his companions because of their wisdom. Thus we are encouraged to seek wisdom ourselves for it is in wisdom that we will grow in likeness to God and be pleasing to Him. We should never scorn an opportunity to learn, especially if it is knowledge that will help us be better persons.
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and laid siege to Jerusalem. 2 The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and some of the vessels of the temple of God, which he carried off to the land of Shinar, and placed in the temple treasury of his god. 3 The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain, to bring in some of the Israelites of royal blood and of the nobility, 4 young men without any defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, quick to learn, and prudent in judgment, such as could take their place in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans; 5 after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service. The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine from the royal table. 6 Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 8 But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine; so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement. 9 Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy of the chief chamberlain, 10 he nevertheless said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; it is he who allotted your food and drink. If he sees that you look wretched by comparison with the other young men of your age, you will endanger my life with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” 14 He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days; 15 after ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table. 16 So the steward continued to take away the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation, the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king had spoken with all of them, none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and so they entered the king’s service. 20 In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.
P S A L M
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
R: Glory and praise for ever!
29 [Dan 3:52] “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; and blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.” (R) 30 [Dan 3:53] “Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.” (R) 31 [Dan 3:54] “Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” (R) 32 [Dan 3:55] “Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” (R) 33 [Dan 3:56] “Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever.” (R)
G O S P E L
It is not the quantity or amount we give, but the manner in which we do it. The poverty-stricken widow is an example to us all of true generosity. She also demonstrates that aspect of faith that we call ‘trust’ that underlies any relationship with God. Her generosity is possible in her own mind and heart because she trusts that God will provide for her needs. She stands as an example to us all, particularly those of us who have much in that we should all be seeking to grow in detachment from our worldly wealth.
1 When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury 2 and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. 3 He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; 4 for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
think: It is not the quantity or amount we give, but the manner in which we do it.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Acts 25-28
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
Frances was born in Lombardy, Italy on July 15, 1850. As a child, the saint wanted to be a missionary in China. She sailed paper boats down a stream, pretending these ships brought missionaries to China.
When she grew up, her poor health denied her admission in two convents. Since she received training in teaching, Frances decided to teach instead. Then a priest invited her to help out in an orphanage. For six years, Frances cared for young girls in the House of Providence Orphanage until the bishop asked Frances to build her own congregation of missionary nuns, which she called Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The congregation spread from Italy to other nations, including the United States. As a matter of fact, it was Pope Leo XIII who asked Mother Cabrini to sail in the US. The nun wanted so much to fulfill her childhood dream of serving as a missionary to China but she whole-heartedly obeyed this new mission. It was not an easy start for Mother Cabrini and the other sisters. The archbishop of New York even suggested that they go back to Italy. To this, the nun only replied, Your excellency, the pope sent me here and here I must stay.
In the US, Mother Cabrini and the entire congregation helped Italian immigrants. They built schools, hospitals and homes for the children in various states. With her trust in the Sacred Heart, Mother Cabrini spread the congregation and its works.
Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini died on December 23, 1917 in Chicago. She was canonized in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.
Saint Edbert of Lindisfarne
Saint Edbert of Lindisfarne, born in England during the 7th century, was also known as Eadbert or Eadbeorht. He succeeded Saint Cuthbert as bishop of Lindisfarne in 687.Edbert was noted for his knowledge of the Scriptures, his obedience to God's commandments and his generosity. According to the venerable Bede, Edbert would give a tenth of his cattle, harvest, and clothing to the poor every year. He also built several churches for the worship of God.
Edbert followed the footsteps of Saint Cuthbert in his acts of godliness, spending 40 days in solitary meditation on a small island during Lent and before Christmas. Saint Edbert died on May 6, 698. His body was buried in the grave which held Saint Cuthbert s remains before his relics were transferred to Durham in 875.
REAL GIVING COMES WITH FASTING
I want you to consider this: which is better – to share a little of what one has, with a great heart… or to share much from what one has in abundance, with an “ordinary” or casual heart? I believe many of us will easily pick out the first choice! However, which is better for our community: little giving or much giving… irregardless of the heart factor? If we are honest with our answer, we will say we prefer much giving!
So, the issue about giving is quite tricky, isn’t it?
Our short Gospel lesson about Jesus being amused by people making their offerings to the temple treasury, which led to Jesus’ praise about the giving of the widow, is not simply a naive teaching about “sharing a little with a great heart.” To view it from that perspective is a caricature. The Gospel, I believe, invites us to deeper thoughts and realizations about CHRISTIAN GIVING:
(1) THE POOR AND THE SIMPLE ARE “MORE GENEROUS” IN SPIRIT.
The rich and the sophisticated often have so many pretensions. They give after much rationalization. They tend to justify the amount of their giving. They tend to make alibis why they ought only to give this or that much to someone… or to a cause. The poor give simply based on what they have, and on what they have genuinely in their hearts. Their poverty and their simplicity make them give not out of rationalizations… but out of genuine empathy.
(2) REAL GIVING IS GIVING THAT COMES FROM FASTING.
The widow’s copper coin offerings were meritorious, not because they were little offerings coming from a great heart. Jesus said: the widow gave out of what she had to live on. She was giving… and her giving was a decision to sacrifice. She was giving out of what she was denying herself with. In Biblical parlance, we note that these two always go together as a diptych: almsgiving… and fasting. God-like giving is not simply giving with a heart. It is giving out of what you have fasted on. It is giving with “kenosis” or self-pouring (cf. Philippians 2:5ff). So, it matters not whether the giving is big or small. The greater question is: does my giving hurt me? If it is giving without hurt… it is not a giving from self… it is not a giving with love. Jesus on the Cross gave out of love, and his love for us hurt him. Fr. Domie, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: Recall an event when your giving hurt you. Recall an event when you gave and shared, while you yourself were in real need. How did you feel? What made you share?
As I fast, may I learn to truly be generous to the needy and hungry.
St. Faustus, martyr, pray for us.
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