FIRST READING
“Clod sent his angel and shut the lions ’mouths.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 6:11-27)

In those days: Some men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they carne near and said before the king, concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that any man who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no heed to you, O king, or the interdict you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed, and set his mind to deliver Daniel; and he laboured till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance which the king establishes can be changed.” Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. When he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish and said to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live for ever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions — they, their children, and their wives; and before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring for ever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Daniel 3 :46.47.48.49.50.51.52 (R. 46b)
R/. Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, dews and snows,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, ice and cold,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, frosts and snows,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, nights and days,
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, light and darkness,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R.

Let the earth bless the Lord;
let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R

ALLELUIA Luke 21:28
Alleluia. Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 21:20-28)

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance, to fulfil all that is written. Alas for those who are with child and for those who are nursing in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
God never forsakes anyone who trusts in and remains faithful to him. This was the case with Daniel in the first reading who, because of his faith in God, was cast into a den of lions but came out unscathed. This same promise Jesus makes to all who remain faithful to the end: “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is at hand.” One of the most frightening things about death or the end time is that it is sure to come but no one knows how, when or even where our next destination will be. Those who have faith in Christ, however, need not fear; we are sure that wherever, however, whenever, he will be with us and lead us to his glory for where the head is, there the body is sure to be.

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