Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, November 23
May We Be Found Worthy to Stand at the Right Hand of Our Sovereign King in His Eternal Kingdom, a Place Where We Shall Truly Find the Love, Peace and Happiness for Which Our Hearts and Souls So Deeply Yearn.
“…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom…and it shall stand forever” – words which we just read from the Book of the Prophet Daniel, words which speak to the everlasting Kingdom which God has promised to His faithful people.
And these words set the stage for the common thread which we find weaving itself throughout both the Old and New Testament Readings today – a sense that there is a non-permanence to all that is of this Earth upon which we live today, a sense of the transitory or fleeting nature to all that man creates – even places of worship such as the Temple built in Jerusalem “adorned with costly stones”, for all things created by man are subject to change.
In our First Reading today, Nebuchadnezzar was distressed by a dream which was haunting him, and, as we just read, the prophet Daniel interpreted the dream as a prophetic vision of the events which were yet to occur in the future – events that would ultimately lead to a time when “…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people…and it shall stand forever.”
And Daniel delivered this prophecy some five hundred and eighty years before the birth of Christ, when the Jewish people were being held in captivity by the Babylonian Empire, a time in the lives of the Jewish people when they were filled with despair, wondering where was God in the destruction of their Temple in Jerusalem and all that they were enduring. For it seemed as though God had abandoned His children. But nothing could be further from the truth!
This coming Sunday, we begin a new liturgical year with the First Sunday in Advent – a time when we prepare our minds and our hearts for the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies concerning the First Coming of the Messiah with the birth of Jesus Christ – a birth which ushered in the coming of God’s Kingdom on Earth – a Kingdom which “shall stand forever.”
But we also know, only too well, that the message of God’s Kingdom about which our Lord preached was not well received by the leaders of the Jewish people, for His message was one of peace and love, charity and humility – concepts which threatened the powerbase of those whose lives were seduced through their own pride and arrogance.
This Kingdom that “shall stand forever”, as we hear Daniel prophesying today, is not a Kingdom of land and property, or castles and wealth. Rather, it is a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace. It is a Kingdom which reigns in the hearts and minds of all those who are seeking God’s Truth.
It is only in humility, and it is only when we empty from ourselves our own sense of pride and self-importance, wherein we begin to experience God’s Kingdom in our lives, wherein we begin to feel His Love and Mercy embracing us and lifting us up – calling us to where our true worship and our true citizenship rightly belongs.
However, in today’s Gospel, Jesus was forewarning His listeners about the events that would follow in the future, events that would test their faith. Our Lord was not only prophesying about the future of the Temple in Jerusalem, but also about the events that would precede His Glorious Second Coming – the Parousia, a time known only to the Eternal Father.
The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was, for many of the Jewish people, a physical place where they felt close to God. And yet, our Lord prophesies about their Temple when He says, “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.”
This physical Temple was to be subject to change, for Christ came to become the new and permanent Temple in the lives of His children, a Temple not made by human hands – a Temple which would never change, a Temple which would always remain in the hearts and minds of faithful believers.
But Jesus knew only too well the fickleness and changeability which can lie in the hearts of men. All we need to do is look around us at the seductions and the appealing hold which secularism and materialistic pleasures have on many people today. And for those who succumb to these seductions and create for themselves new gods and new temples, our Lord warns us in today’s Gospel, “See that you not be deceived…” !
Yes, our Lord was primarily referring to those false prophets who would mislead His children. We have seen many of them over the past decades, and I am sure that there will be more to come. But, for some people, the seductions which the cultures of this world present can be even far more dangerous, for they are more imminent and “in our face” every day.
Let us pray that our hearts may be wise to the false gods and idols which constantly surround us. And through the faith which we profess and live in our daily lives, may our hearts always be opened to the Kingdom of God and the only True Temple which “shall stand forever” – for it is not only near at hand, it is here within us now and also within each person to whom we reach out with the Love and Compassion of Christ!
And when that glorious Second Coming of our Lord and Savior ultimately takes place, may we be found worthy to stand at the right hand of our Sovereign King for all eternity in His Heavenly Kingdom –
– a place where we shall truly find the love, peace and happiness for which our hearts and souls so deeply yearn! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
- “While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, [Jesus] said, ‘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.’” (Luke 21:5-6)
- “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” (Luke 21:9-10)
- “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.” (Malachi 3:19-20a)
- “But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.” (2 Peter 3:13-14)
- “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create…No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying.” (Isaiah 65:17-18a, 19b)
- “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28:17)
Prayer for the Day
“Ah, Lord God, my Holy Lover,
when You come into my heart,
all that is within me will rejoice.
“You are my glory and the exultation of my heart.
You are my hope and refuge in the day of my tribulation.
But because my love is as yet weak and my virtue imperfect,
I must be strengthened and comforted by You.
“Visit me often, therefore, and teach me Your holy discipline.Thomas A’ Kempis (“The Imitation of Christ”)
Free me from evil passions and cleanse my heart
of all disorderly affection so that, healed and purified within,
I may be fit to love, strong to suffer, and firm to persevere.”