November 26, 2019

Daniel 2:31-45


Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:


“You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.


“This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”


Responsorial -- Daniel 3:57-61


Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you heavens;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, all you waters above the heavens;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, all you powers of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.


Luke 21:5-11


When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”


They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.


“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven."







When we think of difficult experiences we have had, it is common to report that the worst part was the fear involved. And in cases where fear did not precede the trauma, a great part of the fallout is fear that the same thing will happen again. Our readings today deal with fear. God created us with an ability to feel fear to keep us away from danger, but fear can also easily go into overdrive and keep us from being in God’s will or being able to sense His continual presence with us.


In the first reading, Nebuchadnezzar was terrified by his dream, but then experienced relief when it was explained, even though it foretold the eventual undoing of his kingdom. In the Gospel, Jesus explains that wars, famines, and other calamities will come to the world, but directs us to not be afraid. This can seem like a tall order, especially since it seems like He’s asking us to control our feelings, but the Lord wants us to realize that everything is in His hand. He wants us to have the same courage and strength as the young men in the Responsorial who sang praises to God as they walked through the furnace.


During this week between the end of one Liturgical year and the beginning of a new one, let us remember that all time and the entire world is under the Lord’s rule, and that He is worthy of our thanks, our praise, and our trust. So whether you are concerned about current world events, or there is an area of your life that is causing you to fear for the future, place those worries into the Lord’s hands. Lift Him up as King of your life and, no matter what circumstances you might be facing today, aim to bless Him in your heart, remembering that He walks beside you always.



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