Commentary on the Gospel of

Julie Kalkowski - Creighton University's Heider College of Buisness


Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions,


Can you imagine being at the most fabulous party in your life? The food is incredible; the most powerful people in the kingdom are there and then you watch in amazement as a hand writes something on the wall? That King is too much you think…the gold and silver chalices from the temple to drink the kingdom’s best wine and now an unbelievable magic trick! Can it get any better than this?

When did it begin to dawn on people that this was no magic trick, that this unfathomable thing was happening right before their very eyes? It seems the King was the first one to realize something had gone badly wrong, so he panicked and called for Daniel to interpret the writing.

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:
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.”
The King’s decision to remove the gold and silver chalices from the Temple way overstepped common decency. It was, as my mother used to say, “beyond the pale.” 

Perhaps this is what happens when we forget who we belong to. If the King had thought about God, would he still have ordered his servants to remove the temple’s sacred chalices?

Sitting in my comfortable chair, it was easy for me to judge the King’s actions all those years ago. But what about now when I cross that line? Just because I have the power and the ability to do something, doesn’t mean I have the right to do so. How do I remember to whom I belong, so my actions don’t go “beyond the pale”?

Due to circumstances of my birth, I don’t need God the way many of the people I work with do. When your life mostly works, it’s easier to forget about God on a day-to-day basis.

To help me remember God’s goodness in my life and to whom I belong to on this day before Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), I am going to take stock and remember in gratitude all the blessings God has showered on me and my loved ones. After that I will endeavor to emulate G.K. Chesterton who, in striving to take nothing for granted, wrote:

" …everything received in gratitude; everything passed on with grace."

Maybe that way I won’t be “found wanting” after God weighs me.


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