This last week of the year we read the Book of Daniel. While Moslems and Christians consider him to be a prophet Jew do not. Nevertheless is story is considered a testament to the power of God We read it at the end of the year because it is classified as apocalyptic literature, that is, literature that deals with last things.
In today's portion we hear the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. a succession of kingdoms one after the other, and finally,
In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
As Christians we believe that that kingdom was first made visible on earth when Jesus began to call disciples. After his resurrection the kingdom took its next great step when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But the Kingdom we read about today in Daniel will only reach its fullness at the end of time with the second coming of Christ.
In the meantime we are reminded, however, that we do not passively wait. We should first of all live as children of the kingdom, the undivided kingdom. Each of the kingdoms in the dream fell apart and disappeared. It is bad enough that we divide the church into "denominations", but then within what is supposed to still be the one, holy catholic and apostolic church, we see divisions right down to the level of the local parish. The disappoint that God the Father must feel as he watches his family. It is not enough that it be attacked from the outside. We Christians are busy attacking one another.
As we prepare to begin the season of Advent, perhaps it is time for each of us to begin to reflect on our own words and actions and ask are their ways we contribute to division and discord. And pray for whatever healing we need.