Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro—(1891-+1927), cause for canonization currently in progress
Daniel 2:31-45, Psalm (Daniel 3:57, 58, 59,61), & Luke 21:5-11
Friends, today's readings bring the present and future of God's reign more sharply into focus as we reflect both the dream account of King Nebuchadnezzar and Luke's narrative of Jesus' instruction of how to read the signs of the times. Daniel, a great wisdom figure of the Hebrew Scriptures, is inspired to discern both the content and the meaning of the king's dream. The dream is of the future, a political dream that points to the rise and fall of several (oppressive) temporal kingdoms, including Babylon, which has "clay feet," that is, they will collapse before the Reign of God, an eternal kingdom of justice and mercy.
The author of the Book of Daniel, writing for Jews suffering terrible persecutions at the hands of the Greek Empire, challenges his countrymen not to abandon their faith in the righteousness and mercy of God. For Christians, the text clarifies that our daily prayer that the Reign of God will come on earth as it is in heaven will be answered in the affirmative. When that happens, will we rejoice with the liberated or be destroyed with the oppressors?
In the Gospel narrative of Saint Luke, Jesus warns us that we must not misread the signs. We cannot be certain that we know their content, or worse, try to direct that content with our money and human political will. We must not be led by leaders who proclaim themselves to be chosen by God to overcome His enemies. Instead, we must remain faithful to the Gospel of liberation and mercy, the Gospel that asserts that only God will finally bring God's reign in God's time. We are at best poor and impoverished instruments whose acts of mercy and justice reflect the Reign of God already has begun in our hearts, not one that we will affect or cause. As Saint Oscar Romero pointed out, "We are witnesses and ministers of the task given and sustained by God; we are not messiahs."
Question of the Day: How are you preparing for the Reign of God?
Prayer: "Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." Amen.