READINGS for 2009-11-23
To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science… – Daniel 1:17
I was recently tasked to handle our marketing department aside from production, which I already head. It’s most likely a temporary assignment because, I must confess, I don’t know the first thing about marketing. I’ve never done it in my career and never even took a subject on it in college.
But I accepted the position, trusting that my boss, who has extensive managerial experience, sees something in me to get the job done. I also accepted the task in faith, believing that the Lord equips those whom He calls. It’s not the first time that the Lord has called me to do something I know nothing about.
When I offered my life to Him as His servant, I gave Him the liberty to put me where He needs me — whether it’s something I know how to do or not. Consequently, I’ve served in so many varied ways that have expanded my experience and skills.
Even before I could get deep into the marketing book I was reading, the Lord sent the perfect person for the job. I told you, He equips those whom He calls. But oftentimes, He calls those whom He already equipped. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Lord, grant me the knowledge and proficiency I need to serve You where You have called me. Amen.
When God chooses to favor a person or group of people for a particular reason, all earthly powers will be confounded by the power He exercises. It is interesting to note that we have mention of sorcery and magic in this text indicating that these forces played a part in the life of the people at the time of Daniel, only some 300 years or so before Christ. Some practices certainly take a long time to disappear! It reminds me of sin, particularly habitual sin and the difficulty we face in eradicating it from our lives.
Daniel 1:1-6. 8-20
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
Each of us has a moral responsibility to support the Church, its ministers and the works of the Church. I would suggest that the bare minimum we should be giving is a tithe or 10 percent, not that I am a strong believer in tithing as such. The Gospel and New Testament’s call for us is to give generously to the point of giving ALL to God. It is too easy for the rich to give 10 percent and then relax and think they have fulfilled their duty. This would be a big mistake! Think of the text in the Gospels that tells those who have two to give to the person who has one; or to give your cloak as well to a person who asks you for your shirt. In other words, we cannot be satisfied we have given enough until all people live in the same comfort as we do! I think we have a long way to go in terms of giving generously!
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.”
t h i n k :We have a long way to go in terms of giving generously.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ezekiel 13-16
WhAt is the Right AmOunt tO give?
This is a question I am often asked. The answer is both simple and complicated. It is not possible to ask someone to give more than they have. At the same time, the amount a person should give depends upon what they have — the more they have, the more they should give! There is no ‘set amount’ or ‘set proportion’ that a person must give. In First Corinthians, St. Paul tells us that the measure of our giving is the level of generosity with which we give, not the amount given. I know people who tithe (give 10 percent of their gross earnings) and this is commendable: I know people who give 50 percent and I know people who keep everything for themselves because they think they deserve it.
In the Gospel, we are presented with the example of a poor widow who gives, quantitatively, very little, yet it is all she has to live on. She has given more than could be reasonably asked of her and yet she chooses to give that much. We presume she gives with joy in her heart and thus is acting under the grace of God.
The challenge that is before each of us is to look at whether or not we give generously. I believe that if we organize our finances suitably then we ought to be able to give 10 percent so long as we are not just on the minimum wage — maybe then we will be struggling to give that much. In any case, whatever we give ought to stretch us a bit financially. There are many people in the world who have nothing, so we are much better off than them and the Gospel demands that we do something to stand in solidarity with them — if you have two give to he who has none. The Gospel challenges us to give to those who do not have as much as we do.
This issue is a complicated one because people get very defensive about their financial practices. Perhaps one thing to think about is that if we are spending money on gambling or vices and not giving to the Church or the poor then we can transfer that money to charitable works rather than wasting it. It is a question of priority, and the Lord deserves the highest priority from us. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Am I a generous giver or do I have a long way to grow in this area? Let us be honest with ourselves and look at our level of giving and improve if we can.
Holy Spirit, give me joy in my heart in being able to give generously. Thank You for Your blessings. I pray that I will never fail to be generous with others in return for Your unending generosity with me.
St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, pray for us.
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