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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, November 14, 2021

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Daniel 12:1-3 Hebrews 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32

There’s no sense in sugarcoating it; today’s readings are, at times, both graphic and alarming. The first reading, from the Book of Daniel, is an example of apocalyptic writing from the Old Testament. It serves to remind us that, while the “kingdoms of this world” come and go, the Reign of God is eternal and invincible. Mark’s Gospel echoes the theme found in Daniel; but goes a step further by adding the role of Jesus (the Son of Man) to the story.

These particular readings stand out to me more today than they ever have before. The news of the nation and of the world over the past couple of years has been particularly alarming. Reports of major weather calamities such as floods, fires and storms; unusually high numbers of illnesses and deaths (many of which have been the result of the pandemic); and an alarming amount of uncivilized behavior are all cause for concern. What does it all mean? Well, Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel, no one knows the day nor the hour when the end times will occur. However, I do know that we are a year closer to the end than we were in November of 2020.

For me, these readings come at a perfect time, so close to the beginning of Advent. Today, we are summoned to take stock of who we are and who’s we are. And, if we have sometimes fallen short of our baptismal call to holiness (and all of us have), it is time to give an accounting of ourselves, take responsibility for our behavior, and look forward to Advent. Advent is the ideal time to prepare to welcome into our hearts, vigorously and with a renewed sense of hope, the One who comes to teach us to believe and to love.

Take heart, it is not too late! In fact, this is the ideal time to reflect on our lives, concentrating especially on how we can strengthen our relationship with God. And God’s grace is with us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to love us and to guide us.

Recently, my wife Marilyn, who frequently sets me straight when I get a little bit “off course”, reminded me that, during these difficult and challenging times, we must not let our hearts be anxious, but focus our attention on the Lord.

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