Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Daniel 7:2-14
Gospel Luke 21:29-33

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away….

Today’s First Reading from Daniel follows naturally from last Sunday’s celebration of Christ the King. There are few queens and kings in the world today who truly rule as monarchs, and the peoples of many nations (such as the United States) reject the very idea of having a queen or king. Indeed, in modern Western thought, government is “by the people”, and all elected officials hold power only through consent of the governed. While such ideas hold merit when it comes to civil government, problems arise when they are applied to the spiritual life and to the life of the Church.

In Daniel’s vision, the “son of man” “received dominion, glory and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion”. The word “dominion” comes from the Latin word “dominus”, meaning “lord” (either human or divine). Older Catholics are familiar with the phrase “Dominus vobiscum” (“The Lord be with you”). The English word “dominate” is a cognate.

Secular Western culture rejects all ideas of domination, even in the spiritual life. There are many “brands” of religion and spirituality that reject even the notion that God should be seen as a “lord” who has “dominion”. At the heart of many modern religions and spiritualities is the idea enshrined in a modern U. S. Supreme Court decision that each human being has a right to create her or his own view of reality, including the definition of life itself. Whatever the origins of such ideas, they cannot be reconciled with the Bible, whose God is, at one and the same time, both a loving Father and a providential Lord.