Daniel 3:75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81
Today's readings deal with a God of glory and majesty as well
as the indications of the end of time. I can see a glorious God. There are
people on television who can see a pending apocalypse. On a cosmic scale,
such a view is outside of my experience. As an individual and as a member
of a consumer society, I can see the problems we make for ourselves. On Thanksgiving,
we realize how lucky we are. On the day after Thanksgiving we show our priorities.
We as a society respond to our gifts by shopping and watching football. I
confess to standing in line outside the store at 6 AM waiting to buy a $20
television. Perhaps it is not a surprise that we create our own apocalyptic
I can relate to the apocalyptic literature as an artistic expression by
a people oppressed. That I can see in my world. We create images and wait
to be vindicated, as the world around us seems to push inward. The symbolic
history of the first reading reminds me that we are residents of a powerful
empire. We are in this world, but our faith calls us not to be of this world.
Given a world that is not as I feel it should be, do I respond with confidence?
I hear Jesus in today's Gospel reassuring us that "my words will not pass
away." But when I look around, I see individuals in the roles of victims.
I see a society feeling oppressed and burdened by economic and moral worries.
How do I react? We may fall victims to this oppression by our choosing. We
may mission ourselves rather than trusting in a grand plan. In this case,
faith dwindles with time and experience. This is in contrast to the author
of today's first reading who chooses a steadfast faith and serves a warning
to the powers of this world.
The Gospel reminded us of the certainty found in the signs of the seasons.
What do the seasons promise us as we end the liturgical year and enter advent?
In my part of the country, the leaves have fallen leaving barren trees. The
weather is cold and damp. Night comes early. The short-term future is colder
and darker. Just about Christmas time a transition begins. The days start
to become longer. This change at Christmas does not allow us to avoid the
winter, but it works to restore the hope for what is to come.