The Feast of Belshazzar by Rembrandt1
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,
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:
MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.
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.”
My reflection today goes in two directions: backwards, we are at the end of the liturgical year,
and during the last few Sundays the Liturgy has led us to reflect on the second coming of our
Savior, who was just presented as a King in last Sunday’s Solemnity. The end of times and any
apocalyptic literature might bring some fear, but we should not be afraid: everything is in God’s
hand. He is a loving provident God. And the Scriptures tell us that fear is the beginning of
wisdom, and that is a good place to start until fear is replaced by perfect love. The prophet
Daniel (as in the excerpt of today’s readings) tells us that our life breath is in God’s hand.
The parables of the ten virgins, of the talents, and Matthew 25’s description of the Son of Man
coming in glory are beautiful reminders of the importance of being “prepared through faith”
(the oil of the lamps of the wise virgins), and being “equipped through the good works” (talents
put to work and helping those in need), not to be found wanting.
Forward: Advent is around the corner, and the main inspiring figure to receive the coming
Savior and to relive his first coming is Mary. Saint Augustine reminds us that before she
conceived in her womb, she did it through her faith, which is an inspiring attitude for us to
prepare for his final visit.
Approaching this time of transition between the end of one liturgical year and the beginning of
the next, we have just celebrated Thanksgiving! Let us extend our giving thanks to the Lord
for the talents given us at the same time that we ask for the grace to bear abundant fruit. Let us
thank him for our faith at the same time that we ask for his help in performing good works.
Love of God and love of neighbor is the secret. And Mary is the embodiment of both.
God bless you all.
Author: The Contribution of Cornelio Fabro to Fundamental Theology. Reason and Faith:
Poesía Sacra, Quemar las Naves, and Desde Fossanova, IVE Press: ://ivepress.org/
1 From ://thoughtsonpapyrus.com/2023/02/19/the-feast-of-belshazzar-5-paintings/, accessed November 21,