This reading from Daniel is confusing and seems to have little to do with my life today.
We hear of a “vision”, a dream. Daniel is interpreting the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar that he, the king, has been chosen by God. He has been “given dominion and strength, power and glory; men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell, he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all…” He goes on to say that all subsequent kingdoms are inferior to his and will be destroyed one after the other. However, “In the lifetime of those kings the god of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people…it shall stand forever.”
The reading from Luke’s gospel could have been taken from this week’s Time magazine. All around the globe hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are barely surviving in the midst of international wars, civil uprising, genocides, earthquakes, famines and plaques. While other men, women and children flaunt apparently limitless conspicuous wealth.
On more than one occasion, when visiting the Vatican I have eavesdropped on private conversations. Some visitors are in stunned awe of the magnificence, history, art, sculpture, and the massiveness of the place. It is truly stunning. Others are in disbelief - why are we hording, spending resources in this manner when so many are in need?
In the gospel, Jesus says to those who are speaking in admiration of the beauty of the temple, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” It is all going to come tumbling down – sometime. Those gather want to know “when” and “what sign will there be…?” They, we, I, want to be prepared. Jesus cautions those gathered to accurately read the signs of the times. Be careful about whom you listen to and whom you follow and to whom you pledge your allegiance.
As terrifying and confusing as these readings may sound, the message, the vision and the invitation are the same. Remain faithful to the relationship. Jesus’ way is to turn my world right-side-out and top-side-down. I come to expect the unexpected. As I lay on the ground arms outstretched beholding the skies of day and night – am I looking up into space or down into space. Am I on the verge of free-falling into the unknown or am I plastered immobilized, flattened against my own fearful expectations?
Alleluia, alleluia, “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Alleluia, alleluia. (Revelation 2:10C)
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook