November 28, 2017
Daniel 2:31-45; Luke 21:5-11
A couple of days ago I was on my early morning jog and passed by a small playground in a nearby neighborhood. As I passed it, I recalled that a large and ornate church had once stood on there. I remembered celebrating Mass there some 20 years ago, when I was a young priest. It was in the middle of winter, and the parish was nearing the end. There were some 60 people at Mass in a church that could probably hold 1500. The church was cold because the parish couldn’t afford to keep the whole thing heated. The eucharistic table had been put in the middle of the nave.
The people of the parish were very warm, but they were older, too. As I left the church that Saturday afternoon, I thought, “This place probably won’t be hear much longer.” The church eventually closed and was torn down.
I thought of that place and its people as I reflected on today’s scripture readings. From edifices to empires, many of the things that human beings build in this life and that we think will last a long time (if not “forever”) are as mortal as we are. Only God and the things of God endure.
At the time the Book of Daniel was written, the empires of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Medes had come and gone and the Greeks (at least in that part of the world) held sway. But the Greeks would eventually give way to the Romans, whose Pax Romana would eventually crumble as well. The process continues up to our present day.
Many people in Jesus’ day thought that the Temple in Jerusalem, thought to be God’s dwelling place on earth, would last forever. Yet within two generations of his death, it was destroyed.
We need to be careful about how much faith we put into the things we create and put our ultimate trust in the One who created us. –JC