Encouragement In Times Of Trial
Wednesday of Week 34 in Ordinary Time - Cycle I
Dan. 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28 & Lk. 21:12-19
Today's episode from the Book of Daniel tells about King Belshazzar's feast in which he used the Temple vessels and thereby desecrated them.
In the course of the feast the words “Mene, Tekel, Peres” appeared on the wall which Daniel was able to interpret. The gist of the message was “The party is over.” Not only had he profaned the vessels of the Temple but having committed atrocities he had become spiritually bankrupt. The division and loss of his kingdom were inevitable.
This episode explains the expression, 'the writing on the wall', in our language. It means there are signs that change is coming which a person ought to have expected.
Jesus is warning us today that following Him will not be easy. There is going to be conflict with authority. Jesus' words have rung true for those who live in countries where the Church suffers oppression. What about us? We too have to face opposition and suspicion, and even be hated by many. This may take the form of ridicule, contempt, snide remarks or constant attempts to undermine our faith. In enduring all this we will be witnessing to Christ. In times of persecution Jesus tells us not worry because He will be on our side. We don’t even have to prepare our defence, for the words and the strength we need will be given to us. He assures us how much He cares for us when He says that not even one hair of our head will be harmed.
If we do as Jesus says, and trust Him, we will be rewarded with a place in Heaven. Saint John's vision is intended to console us in difficult times and encourage us to keep our sights on the world to come. We must persevere in following Christ while we are here on Earth, looking forward to that time when all Creation will be converted and brought back to God, the Creator. John sees that vast number of saints in Heaven praising God with the words, "How great and wonderful are Your works, Lord God Almighty.” (Rev 15:3) In this way he is saying to us, 'Just imagine the joy that will be theirs and long to see yourself numbered among them'.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for warning us that following You will not be easy. May we never give up the good fight but persevere to the end, and be numbered among Your saints praising You forever in Heaven.