FIRST READING
“The fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the wall.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 5: 1-6.13-14.16-17.23-25)

In those days: King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden and silver vessels which had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lamp stand; and the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s colour changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. I have heard of you that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. “I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. “You have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honoured. “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Daniel 3:40.41. 42.43.44. 45 (R. 40b)
R/. Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, sun and moon,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

Bless the Lord, stars of heaven,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

Bless the Lord, all rain and dew,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

R/. Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, all winds,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

Bless the Lord, fire and heat,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat,
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

ALLELUIA Revelation 2: 10c
Alleluia. Be faithful unto death, says the Lord, and I will give you the crown of life. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 21: 12-19)

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
Anyone who wants to follow Christ must be ready to face persecution: from friends, family members, acquaintances, and even fellow parishioners. This is because, to truly follow Christ, especially in a society where vice is quickly becoming the norm, one must be prepared to swim against the current. People are not usually comfortable around one who thinks and acts differently, when such actions prick their conscience. This is the lot of the Christian who wants to maintain the truth even when everyone else holds on to lies; who wants to be financially transparent even when others expect him/her to loot and give them a share; who wants to remain pure in word and deed even when so called friends consider these things out of fashion. Though persecuted, the Christian should remember the words of Christ – “Stand firm, and you will win life”.

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