Tuesday, 28 November 2017 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the book of the prophet Daniel, firstly about the vision which the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had received in his dreams. The king was disturbed by what he had dreamt, and no one could interpret his dream other than the prophet Daniel. Daniel explained the meaning of the dream to the king.

And that dream revealed the future to the king of Babylon, who was known to be a great and mighty king. The king was proud and arrogant because of his conquests and triumphs, his riches and his might, to the point that if we read the entirety of the Book of Daniel, we would know how he built a huge golden statue of his own image, and forced many people to worship the statue as a god.

That great statue and all the other proud acts and hubris of Nebuchadnezzar is also represented in the dream which the king received, where he saw another huge statue made of an amalgamation of various materials and metals, which represent the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, and then the subsequent Persian Empire which conquered the Babylonians afterwards, and also the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, and possibly the Roman Empire.

Then in the dream, the king saw a huge boulder which smashed against the statue and crushed it completely, so much so that it was no longer recognisable as a statue, where it once stood. And this is related to what we have heard in the Gospel passage today, as we heard how the Lord Jesus speaking to the people who admired the grandeur and beauty of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was a great edifice rebuilt and expanded by king Herod the Great.

The Lord spoke of how that great Temple and indeed the city of Jerusalem itself would be destroyed, as a premonition and revelation of what was to come. This would come true just a few decades afterwards, when the Romans and their armies destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem and the city, after the failed Jewish rebellion against the Roman rule. Nothing was left of the Temple and the city afterwards save for a small portion of the wall which remained until today.

The Lord reminded His people, just as He had shown the king of Babylon through his dreams, that ultimately, it does not matter how rich we are, how powerful we are, or how mighty are our worldly achievements and glory, all of these will eventually perish and disappear, should we put our trust in them, and not in God. The king of Babylon was proud with his greatness, and yet, his kingdom did not last and was destroyed, as with the other great kingdoms and empires throughout time.

That rock which destroyed the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents God Himself, His power and majesty, which surpasses all forms of earthly power, glory and majesty. And as He has promised, He shall come again at the end of time, at the time of His own choosing, to gather together all of those who have been faithful to Him, and bring all of them into the joy of His eternal glory.

That was what the Lord Jesus also mentioned in the Gospel passage today, that we must be be prepared for the coming of the end, but at the same time, we must not be distracted by those who seek to profit from it, by being false prophets of doom, and worse still, by claiming to be the Lord Who comes again. Instead, we should learn from now on, to trust in God and live faithfully according to His ways, no longer giving ourselves to sin.

May the Lord Our God be our guide in this life, and may we all draw ever closer to Him, day after day, as we continue to draw our strength from Him, and place our trust in Him. Let us pray that He will continue to take care of us and bless us, as He has blessed Daniel and his friends, as well as the old widow for their faith and devotion. Amen.

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