Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr
(Daniel 2:31-45; Luke 21:5-11)
Recent events have shown that the United States, as powerful a nation as it is, cannot control the course of the world. Its withdrawal from Iraq indicates that it has lost the will to assure a peaceful society there. And the persistence of the Taliban in Afghanistan challenges the American quest for justice in that land to the breaking point. The country must reassess its purposes as prophet Daniel proposes in today’s first reading.
Daniel, writing from an historical perspective, recognizes that mighty kingdoms come and go. He is supposedly warning the king of Babylonia but actually has all the rulers of the earth in mind. His message is that they not strive to conquer more lands but to concern themselves with true justice and peace. In the end God will judge the nations of the world. In Daniel’s prophetic imagination, God’s kingdom is the stone that becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth.
We Americans have cause to be grateful for the blessings heaped upon our country. Our nation has all-in-all contributed to a better world. But we should not be lulled into thinking that every American initiative is just. Our leaders are wise to remember that Americans have caused hardship in the name of democracy and that they too are subject to judgment.