The Catholic Week Ahead – 34th Week in Ordinary TimePosted: November 21, 2011
This is the 34th Week in Ordinary Time. We are now at the end of the liturgical year. This Sunday is the start of Advent and the introduction of the Revised Roman Missal. The highlight of the week is Thanksgiving, as well as a saint for most of the days in the liturgical calendar.
First, the Mass readings for the week. I encourage everyone to follow the readings throughout the week.
For this week, we are going to hear readings from the Book of the Prophet Daniel.
Daniel is one of the Prophetic Books of the Holy Bible. It was written in the 2nd Century B.C. at the time of the persecutions told of in the 1st & 2nd Books of Maccabees, which we heard last week. Daniel himself lived in the 6th Century B.C. at the time of the Babylonian Exile when all of Judah was in exile in Babylon. The Book of Daniel is considered an Apocalyptic writing and points us to the end days and the Second Coming of Christ.
On Monday, we start with King Nebuchadenezzar of Babylon conquering Jerusalem. He brought the Jews back with him to Babylon and picked out the best of the young men so that they could be trained and brought into the service of the court. Among these young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The four refused to eat the food of the king, which would have defiled them. Instead they took only vegetables and water. In return, God gave them great wisdom and knowledge. He also gave prophetic powers to Daniel. When it came time to choose which of the young men would enter the king’s service, Daniel and the other three were the ones chosen. On Tuesday, we hear about a dream of Nebuchadenezzar that Daniel interprets. The dream told of the coming of the Kingdom of God and how this kingdom would destroy all earthy kingdoms. On Wednesday, there is a new king in the story, King Belshazzar, who was King Nebuchadenezzar’s son. He threw a banquet and brought out the sacred vessels that were plundered from the temple in Jerusalem. His dinner party started drinking from the sacred vessels and offered praise to their gods. They then saw a hand appear and it wrote something on a wall. The king summoned Daniel to interpret. The writing said essentially that God had found the king wanting and was going to end his kingdom and divide it. On Thursday, we hear of a new king, King Darius, who issued a decree effectively prohibiting prayer. Of course, Daniel was found in prayer. The king did not want to hurt Daniel but his advisors kept pressuring him. He finally gave in and cast Daniel into the lion’s den. Daniel spent the night in the den and God protected him. Daniel was removed from the den and the advisors (and their families) were cast into it. King Darius then proclaimed that God was ”to be reverenced and feared” throughout his kingdom. As King Darius proclaimed, “he is the living God, enduring forever; his Kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be without end.” On Friday, we hear of Daniel’s vision of the four beasts. By the end of the vision, the dominion of the beasts is destroyed and a heavenly and everlasting kingdom is established. On Saturday, we end with Daniel getting an explanation concerning the fourth beast in his vision, which was a horrible creature that caused great destruction. Daniel learned that this beast would be a kingdom that would devour other kingdoms and persecute God’s followers. It would appear that this kingdom had won, but that God would come and destroy this kingdom and establish his everlasting kingdom.
The Responsorial Psalms are tied to the reading (in quotes are the responses but they are often taken from another Psalm.)
This week, the Responsorial Psalm is taken from the Canticle of Daniel which is in Daniel 3:52-90. The responses are as follows: On Monday - “Glory and praise for ever!” Tuesday through Saturday - all have the same response (from Psalm 59) – “Give glory and eternal praise to him.”
We spend the week going through Luke 21, which is Christ’s ministry in Jerusalem. In the weekday readings from the Gospel according to Luke, we have progressed over the course of 13 weeks from Luke 4:16 to 21:26. In these chapters, we have covered Christ’s ministry. First, it was the ministry in Galilee. Then, it was the Journey to Jerusalem. This week, it is Christ’s ministry in Jerusalem. The gospel readings this week offer a series of teachings from Christ that were intended to prepare his disciples (and us) for the end times.
On Monday, we hear about the poor widow putting her small offering into the temple treasury. Christ instructed the wealthy, who were also putting their offerings in, that the widow had put in more than they because the wealthy had given from their surplus while the widow had given from what she needed to live. On Tuesday, Christ tells of the destruction of the temple and the end times. How there would be deceivers that would come in his name. How there would be wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues and other “awesome sights and mighty signs.” He tells his disciples to not be deceived or terrified. He also instructs them that these signs would “not immediately be the end.” On Wednesday, Christ warns his disciples that they would be persecuted and that some would be turned on by family and friends, and even put to death. He also instructs them to not worry about what they would say or anything else. He promises them that “[b]y your perseverance you will secure your lives.” On Thursday, we hear further of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times. He hear of calamities and wrathful judgment. We hear that “[p]eople will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon 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.” The reading ends with the assurance that “when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” On Friday, Christ uses the fig tree to describe how we will know that the Kingdom of God is near. He also assures his disciples that “[h]eaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” On Saturday, we end the year with Christ warning his disciples to stay vigilant and alert, to stay away from sin and anxiety, and to pray and be ready for the tribulations to come and the time when we will all stand before him.
Saints in the Liturgical Calendar
(The Mass Celebrant must celebrate feasts and memorials. They may, if they choose, celebrate optional memorials).
Monday – The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Feast day commemorating the presentation of Mary as a child in the temple. In this presentation, Mary was promised to God. (Memorial)
Tuesday – St. Cecilia - Roman in the 2nd Century who suffered martyrdom during the persecution under Marcus Aurelius. Before her death, she had converted her husband and her brother-in-law, both of whom were martyred as well. (Memorial)
Wednesday – Pope St. Clement I - the third Bishop of Rome (i.e. Pope) after St. Peter. He was converted by Sts. Peter & Paul and ordained by St. Peter. He was martyred around 100. (Optional Memorial). St. Columban (563-615) - Irish abbot who established many monasteries throughout Europe and inspired his fellow Irish monks to establish many monasteries of their own. These monasteries were the foundation of learning and center of knowledge during the early Middle Ages (also known as the Dark Ages). (Optional Memorial) Bl. Miguel Augustin Pro (1891-1927) - Mexican Jesuit priest who was educated in Europe and the U.S. but returned to Mexico after ordination. Mexican Catholics were undergoing great persecution in the 1920s and the Church was outlawed. St. Miguel carried out his priestly ministry in secret but he was eventually captured and shot before a firing squad. He had been a priest for about a year. (Optional Memorial)
Thursday – St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions - A group of Vietnamese Catholics and missionaries who were martyred during the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries during various persecutions of the Vietnamese rulers. (Memorial)
Friday – St. Catharine of Alexandria - 4th Century Roman (Egypt) who was converted to the faith at 18. She was very successful in converting others, many of whom were put to death. She refused an offer from the emperor to marry a nobleman. Imprisoned by the emperor, she converted his wife and soldiers, who were then put to death. St. Catharine was herself martyred. (Optional Memorial)
Have a blessed and holy week.