Scripture: Daniel2,31-45; Resp. Psalm: Daniel3,35-39; Gosp. Accl.: Rev2,10; Gospel: Luke21,5-11
The vision of Nebuchadnezzar in today's First Reading is a reference to the future. It foretold the end of Nebuchadnezzar's empire and that of the Persians and Chaldeans. Today, we know that that empire is only a relic of history. It stands no more. That teaches us that we must never hold on to glories, honours, authorities, privileges and power here on earth because all are stubble. They vanish like the morning mist.
Nebuchadnezzar must have been shocked when Daniel told him that his kingdom would be succeeded by other kingdoms. It must have shaken him to his foundation and taken his candour and mien away when he heard that he was just a head of gold, nothing more. He shone brightly in his time but even that head would be shattered and "become like the chaff of the summer threshing floors." The wind would carry this chaff away so that no trace of them would ever be found.
If Nebuchadnezzar never realized it, he must have finally understood that day that the power he clung to as if it was a personal property, was given to him by God. The power and authority were only for a time, not for eternity. It was thus foolishness not to know that it should be used well and for the good of humanity for whom the power was given in the first place.
We see in Daniel's ability to interpret this dream the reward of Yahweh for the steadfastness of this captive and exiled youth. Yesterday we saw that he refused to eat the sumptuous pagan food that came from the king's table. Today, we see that the reward for that attachment to the cause of Yahweh was the ability to read into what the future held, even for Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest and most powerful man on earth that time, who wielded power over the lives of countless peoples and who could bring life to a close with a flip of his finger.
The vision of Nebuchadnezzar saw a new kingdom that Yahweh shall set up that shall never be destroyed, whose sovereignty shall never be left to another people. This kingdom "shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever." That kingdom is not an earthly kingdom because no earthly kingdom has ever possessed these characteristics, no matter how great they have been in human history.
All earthly kingdoms, at one time or the other, come to an end. The vision today is about the kingdom of the Son of man, the kingdom that the Father sent the Son to establish. That is the kingdom that has stood the test of time. That is the kingdom that shall not come to an end because it is firmly planted in the hearts of men.
Our Lord today warned us about the errorneous belief in seeking for security in the things of this world. He warned us about thinking that anything in this world is eternal. In His teaching, He prophesied that beautiful and adorned though the temple was, it was going to be destroyed because it too is not eternal. Our Lord today warned us again that the end would come. He advised us to beware of false prophets and teachers who would deceive us into thinking that the end had come. He cautioned us not to go after them.
Let us learn from today's message. Let us learn from the fall and destruction of Nebuchadnezzar's empire. Let that teach us about the effervescent nature of power and authority, privileges and positions. Let us be strongly reminded that the end will come. Let us make the best of ourselves time here on earth as preparation to meet the Son of man.
Let us pray: O God our heavenly Father, your word calls us to action and quick decisions about what we need to do to prepare for your Son's definitive return. Give us listening ears, willing hearts and strong determination to put the word into practise, beginning from now. May you lead us to recognize the passing nature of this world so that our hearts can be directed to the eternity of lasting joys. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele