FIRST READING
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:2-14)
Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man.”

“I [Daniel] saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man; and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised on one side; it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back; and the beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgement, and the books were opened. I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burnt with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.  I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Daniel 3:53.54.55.56.57.55.59 (R.  53b)
R/. Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, mountains and hills,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, all things that grow on the earth,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, you springs,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, seas and rivers,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, you whales and all creatures
that move in the waters,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, all birds of the air,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

Bless the Lord, all beasts and cattle,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. R/.

ALLELUIA  Luke 21:28
Alleluia. Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Alleluia.

GOSPEL                              
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 21:29-33)
When you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

At that time: Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
The Gospel of the Lord

Today’s Reflection
The Gospel reference to the fig tree gives us a sign of hope. Like most trees in winter, a fig tree looks dead, but in fact in bursting with new life, ready to explode to the surface in the spring. The same is true of the church and of our individual selves. Although we may be enduring difficulties, problems, and apparent death, deep within the church and within us is the Holy Spirit who resuscitates all things that seem dead. No matter what happens to us we should never doubt the power of our call from God; our vocation, God’s specific will for us. With faith in God, we can survive any darkness.

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