Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 2:31-45; Luke 21:5-11)
The United States, as powerful a nation as it is, cannot control the course of history. It has had a most difficult time trying to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Efforts at negotiation have been hampered by the distrust Iran has felt since 1953 when America and England orchestrated the murder of Iran’s democratically-elected prime minister. After the traumas in Iraq and Afghanistan along with the setback in Iran, the United States must reassess its purposes as the prophet Daniel proposes in today’s first reading.
The Book of the Prophet Daniel is more historical novel than Israelite prophecy. Yet there is real truth in its message. In today’s reading the book’s protagonist warns the king of Babylonia that his rule is soon to come to its end. However, the author (whoever he may be) has all the rulers of the earth in mind. His message is that they should not strive to conquer more lands but to establish justice where they rule. Such statesmanship is necessary because in the end God will judge the nations. In the author’s prophetic imagination, God’s kingdom is the stone that becomes a mountain filling the whole earth.
Americans have cause to be grateful for the blessings heaped upon their country. In its best days the United States has responded graciously by contributing to a better world. Certainly standing up to the tyranny in the Soviet Union benefited all humanity. But Americans should not think that their country’s every initiative is just. Its leaders have spawned injustice in certain times and places for which they are subject to God’s judgment.