TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Daniel 2: 31-45


“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."


(NRSVCE)


Meditation


This week marks the last of Ordinary Time. Between the Feast of Christ the King and the beginning of Advent, the Scriptures remind us to keep our eyes on Christ as our King and on the Kingdom of God as our goal and destiny.


For those who are holding onto their own power, like the king in the reading from Daniel, Christ’s kingship can feel like a threat. The king was shaken by his dream that foretold the coming of the Messiah, who would undo the powers of this world and subject all rulers to Himself. On a lesser scale, the Lord’s coming can sound scary to those who have invested everything in this life. The idea of the temple being thrown down, of wars, and disruptions to what we consider our security is frightening, and reminds us that we are not actually in control of our lives.


But to those who have put the Lord first, His coming Kingdom is our hope. We know we are not in control, but we are looking to something other than this world, and know that the One who created the world by His command loves us, has redeemed us, and has already conquered evil. So despite all the darkness that we might see in the world these days, what we may have to suffer in this life or the uncertainty that lies ahead, we can rejoice and be at peace, confident that no power of evil or of this world will have the final say.


As we prepare to enter into the Advent season, let us fix our eyes not only toward the Lord’s second coming, but to giving Him more of our hearts and lives today. Ask the Lord for the grace to draw closer to Him, to look to Him more consistently, and use your time in this life for the building of His Kingdom.


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