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Doctrines & Morals

The Memorial of St Andrew Dŭng-Ląc and companions

Dan. 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28, Lk. 21:12-19. Today's first reading accounts for the divine “writing on the wall” when the king of Babylon throws a royal banquet for the nobles and leaders. He and his guests use golden and other precious metal, vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Exile. Daniel, the Jewish dream and vision interpreter, was called in to explain the meaning of the words: "MENÉ MENÉ TEKEL PARSIN." Daniel uses the occasion to predict the end of the king’s rule and the overthrow of his government by the Persians. Although the “writing on the wall” was a message of impending doom for the Babylonian king, it was a message of hope for God’s people as they saw the end of the oppression with the fall of the Babylonian empire.

In today's Gospel, Jesus is aware of His own impending passion and death. He wants us to realise that suffering may be part of our allegiance to Him and to His Father. Not only can we expect to be persecuted, but the persecution may come from members of our close acquaintances and family. According to Jesus, they will be hauled before authorities, face trials, be deserted by family, even betrayed by loved ones. A key line in this passage is the command not to spend time preparing an elaborate defense, but to trust that He will provide the correct words of testimony for us to speak as we face the opponents. Just as Jesus enjoined His followers not to plan out what they are going to say, so we, must not worry about how we might have to bear witness to Jesus and our relationship with Him. We should take Jesus at His word and realise that not only will He provide the words for us to speak, He will also see us through any difficulty we might face as we testify for and about Him. Today, we are enjoined to also heed the great examples and inspirations shown by St Andrew Dŭng-Ląc and his numerous companions, the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, who suffered and died for their faith in God. Each of them was a soul individually created and loved by God, with a life and gifts uniquely theirs. By nationality, there were 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spanish and 10 French. By status, there were 8 bishops, 50 priests, and 59 laymen and women. By mode of death, 75 were beheaded, 22 strangled, 6 burned alive, 5 torn to pieces while still alive and 9 died of torture in prison.

May the Lord help us to always understand the leading signs of God around us! Amen!! Good morning and have a wonderful day!!!

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