Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28; Luke 21:12-19)
“Can’t you read the ‘writing on the wall’?” People ask this question when the meaning of a situation appears clear to them but not so to the other. The term originated in the passage from the Book of the Prophet Daniel read today.
The words “Mene,” “Tekel,” and “Peres” may sound esoteric, but they are not incomprehensible. Scholars say that mene means to count. Tekel is the root word for the ancient weight and then coin, “shekel.” It means to weigh. And peres is related to the root for “Pharisee” – the people separated out from commoners for their strict observance. The “writing on the wall” then is a message to the people who are committing sacrilege by using the vessels from Jerusalem’s temple. Their deeds are being counted and weighed. They will be separated out for punishment.
The same is true for all of us. Our deeds, observed and judged, will merit us salvation or damnation. As today’s gospel relates, we want to give testimony to Christ. It’s easy to say what we are to do but at times difficult to carry out the tasks. We are to love one another as Jesus loves us – earnestly, patiently, self-sacrificingly.