Thank You

For 29 November 2023, Wednesday of the 34th Week of Ordinary Time, based on Deuteronomy 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his lords,
with whom he drank.
Under the influence of the wine,
he ordered the gold and silver vessels
which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,
had taken from the temple in Jerusalem,
to be brought in so that the king, his lords,
his wives and his entertainers might drink from them.
When the gold and silver vessels
taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in,
and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers
were drinking wine from them,
they praised their gods of gold and silver,
bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly, opposite the lampstand,
the fingers of a human hand appeared,
writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace.
When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched;
his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook,
and his knees knocked.

Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king.
The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, the Jewish exile,
whom my father, the king, brought from Judah?
I have heard that the Spirit of God is in you,
that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom.
I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties;
if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means,
you shall be clothed in purple,
wear a gold collar about your neck,
and be third in the government of the kingdom.”

Daniel answered the king:
“You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else;
but the writing I will read for you, O king,
and tell you what it means.
You have rebelled against the Lord of heaven.
You had the vessels of his temple brought before you,
so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers,
might drink wine from them;
and you praised the gods of silver and gold,
bronze and iron, wood and stone,
that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence.
But the God in whose hand is your life breath
and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify.
By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down.

“This is the writing that was inscribed:
These words mean:
MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it;
TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;
PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Thank You

The mission of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great in the Central United States is to “communicate the Word of god through preaching, theological education, and the promotion of justice and peace.” A few weeks ago, Aquinas Institute of Theology, our school of preaching, theology, and ministry in St. Louis, hosted our annual Great Preacher Award banquet, where we invite and celebrate exemplars of this mission that we share in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. This year, we welcomed archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, who supports our theological mission in St. Louis so generously. We also welcomed Fr. Paul Whittington, a friar of our province and an alumnus of Aquinas Institute, serving as pastor of Saint Katherine Drexel Parish in Southside Chicago. The Katherine Drexel Gospel Choir came, and it was a joyous event, several hundred people sharing faith and being a sign of hope for one another in our concern to persevere in the faith and to be messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow in Chicago at the annual Provincial’s Dinner, the Province of St. Albert the Great will honor and welcome Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, the former Master of the Dominican Order, coming to us from the Synod on Synodality in Rome. We are thrilled that he will spend some days with us and that our student brothers in St. Louis will have an opportunity to meet and take heart from this great Dominican.
We have a stern message in today’s scripture from Chapter 5 of the Book of Daniel, in which the rapacious king throws an obscenely ostentatiously banquet for a thousand lords, serving the wine in stolen vessels from the Jewish temple. When Daniel the prophet is called into their midst, he speaks truth to power in such a way that makes it plain that things will not go well for King Belshazzar. In addition to this morality tale from Chapter 5 of Daniel, our gospel passage today from Luke, Chapter 21, is an invitation to perseverance. Friends, how can we persevere in faithfully proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel without each other? All of us in the Province of St. Albert the Great thank you for walking with us and helping us to persevere and be a word of hope for each other.

Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.