Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The readings of this last week of the liturgical year have an overtly political thrust. The feast of Christ the King itself was instituted by Pius XI as a response to growing violent nationalism within Europe. Although the feast was not originally celebrated at the end of the liturgical year, it was quite appropriately moved there after the Second Vatican Council. At a time when we consider the Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell), the feast focuses us upon the greatest “last thing,” namely Jesus Christ the Lord. If the end of time falls under the justice and mercy of Jesus, then all our temporal activities here on earth find their eventual orientation in Him.
Daniel represents the prophet of the judgment of the nations. Though under the domain of a heathen king, he does not compromise his fidelity to the one God. Today he delivers his interpretation of the king’s dream, an interpretation which recounts the rise and fall of many kingdoms under the watchful gaze of the Lord. No one can claim to be eternal except one.
“But look at the Temple!” “Look at the buildings!” “Look at the stones!” The people speak to another and greater prophet in today’s gospel. What splendor! What strength!
Not one stone will be left upon another.