Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods.

Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

Responsorial - Daniel 3:52-56

“Blessed are you, O Lord, God of our ancestors, and to be praised and highly exalted forever; And blessed is your glorious, holy name, and to be highly praised and highly exalted forever. Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, and to be extolled and highly glorified forever. Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne on the cherubim, and to be praised and highly exalted forever. Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, and to be extolled and highly exalted forever. Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, and to be sung and glorified forever.

Luke 21:1-4

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

(NRSVCE) Meditation

After celebrating the Feast of Christ the King and contemplating the Kingdom of God, our spiritual kingdom, we read today two stories about the Kingdom of God in our midst. In the book of Daniel, the young men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, did not want to eat the king’s rations that would have defiled their dietary code and they received favor so that they could eat their own food. Because of their faithfulness, God gave them fine health, plus knowledge, insight and spiritual gifts in abundance. Daniel and the young men understood that to obey God and honor Him was far greater than all the honors that King Nebuchadnezzar could bestow on them. Their eyes were on another kingdom.

In the gospel, we read about the poor widow and her giving in faith. Jesus praises the poor widow’s gift. “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.” Of course, the poor widow did not give more actual money than the wealthy gave. It was her act of giving that was greater. She gave more than the wealthy. She was willing to trust her entire living to the treasury of the church. Her wealth was in her confidence in the Lord. It was in detachment. It was in her generous spirit and her knowledge that when you give to God’s work, God returns the favor.

The widow was not giving her money away. She was investing it and it became part of the treasury of the church. Her gift was a small material blessing but it had big spiritual power. She was living a life in the Kingdom of God.

How am I living my faith in the Kingdom of God? Do I think more about what I can do with my money for my own use or do I ask God to show me how I can use my money to build the Kingdom? As we enter the season of Advent, consider what tithes and alms you might be called to offer and trust that the Lord will outdo you in generosity.

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