November 27, 2023
by Candice Tucci, O.S.F.
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 503

Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Luke 21:1-4

Preparing for Advent


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They looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table! Upon reading and reflecting on the Scripture for today my immediate thought was, Ah! This message (from the Book of Daniel) is a confirmation for those who follow a vegetarian diet!

On the other hand, as always, Scripture is for each of us. Once again, too, we read of the poor woman who gave all she had. These words are for us to HEAR what is ours to hear? The Word of the Lord!

The young Jewish men who chose to be without the lavish excesses of food or wealth became healthier in body, mind, and spirit. They were all truly authentic, remaining faithful to their God and their cultural/religious traditions while in captivity.  No giving in or perhaps feeling ashamed of who they were, but followed their convictions, conscience, and belief in the God of Israel. Could we do the same if held captive and our faith threatened?

The young men shared their gifts of knowledge, proficiency in all literature and science and Daniel, the understanding of visions and dreams. These gifts were recognized by the king and put them in service. They used and shared the gifts that the God of their ancestors had given them.

When we share who we are, without being pretentious, I believe we can find a deep joy and thankfulness for all that has been given us. What we have received, too, we give with joy and with gratitude to be able to do so. Perhaps this was the case with the poor woman Jesus refers to us. She gave all she had and perhaps in return much was received. We don’t know that, but Jesus makes this reference in other parts of the Gospels. It is giving without expectations of receiving. Abundance is received unexpectedly in return.  

Our readings follow our Thanksgiving Holidays. A time when we give thanks and share what we have received. Advent follows with a season of Hope and  concluding with Christmas. It is the gift-giving and receiving season. It is real if we remember that the greatest gift of all is the Christ, Jesus, the Love of God incarnate.

Grounded in this Love, we pray for peace. We pray that people will be free. Free from poverty. Free to be themselves. Free from disease and economic disparities. Free from slavery and being held hostage. Free from wars. Free to be the gifted people each are called to be with the means to grow and become authentically honest, true to oneself, and faithful human beings. Where love is present, so much can be endured to live beyond the pain.

In his own captivity, Daniel could give glory and praise God forever! Can we, no matter what our circumstances, do the same?

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestors,
Praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
Praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages…FOREVER!

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