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A Season of Wonder

First Reading: Daniel 7:2-14

In a vision I, Daniel, saw during the night,
the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea,
from which emerged four immense beasts,
each different from the others.
The first was like a lion, but with eagle’s wings.
While I watched, the wings were plucked;
it was raised from the ground to stand on two feet
like a man, and given a human mind.
The second was like a bear; it was raised up on one side,
and among the teeth in its mouth were three tusks.
It was given the order, “Up, devour much flesh.”
After this I looked and saw another beast, like a leopard;
on its back were four wings like those of a bird,
and it had four heads.
To this beast dominion was given.
After this, in the visions of the night I saw the fourth beast,
different from all the others,
terrifying, horrible, and of extraordinary strength;
it had great iron teeth with which it devoured and crushed,
and what was left it trampled with its feet.
I was considering the ten horns it had,
when suddenly another, a little horn, sprang out of their midst,
and three of the previous horns were torn away to make room for it.
This horn had eyes like a man,
and a mouth that spoke arrogantly.
As I watched,Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was snow bright,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
His throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened, and the books were opened.
I watched, then, from the first of the arrogant words
which the horn spoke, until the beast was slain
and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up.
The other beasts, which also lost their dominion,
were granted a prolongation of life for a time and a season.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw
One like a son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:75-81

R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
You springs, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Gospel: Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”

NAB

nov 27

I have always loved the changing of the seasons, which is quite comical since being a Louisiana girl transplanted to the tropics to live, my experience with this particular phenomenon is minimal. But there is just something about the first chill in the air and wrapping yourself up in your favorite comfy sweater for the first time that year. The first fire in the fireplace of a winter and the first spring blossoms popping up as the frost fades away for the year.

When the seasons change, it seems we wake up once again. We are called by nature’s wonders from the dull fog we often live our days in to a sense of high alert, an awareness that the world around us is changing and we would do well to take note.

And yet reading through today’s Gospel, I have to ask myself, do I allow myself to be awakened to God working in the world around me the same way I am by the changing of the seasons? Do I look with anticipation for the little signs of His presence, note the work He is doing in the hearts of my family, my neighbors, my friends with the same breathless wonder I take in the year’s first snowfall.

Do I find joy in knowing that the Kingdom is near because the Spirit is alive and active in our midst? Or am I lulled to sleep by the seemingly normal routine of my days and all the darkness in the world around me?

Lord, I pray today that you wake me up. Make me alert, aware of the ways you are moving in and around me, of the way the world is changing because your Kingdom in near and our Savior has come. Let me be a redemption seeker and a grace collector and mercy dispenser with the same vibrant expectancy with which I seek the signs of the changing seasons, collect their bounty and dispense their joy.

Let this be the season of joyful awareness, Lord, in which I see you wondrously unfolding your glory in the most intimate of ways all around me. And then move me, Lord, to proclaim your Kingdom with words that are true and strong, words that will not pass away because they are Your Word, at work in our world and in my heart.

Take the time to journal today and note bits of ordinary beauty around you. As you do, try also to note how God is working in your life and in the world around you right now in this season of your life. Offer thanks today for the Kingdom drawing near.

photo by Sara Miller

Colleen Mitchell is wife to Greg and mother to five amazing sons here on earth. They serve in Costa Rica where they run the St. Francis Emmaus Center, a ministry that welcomes indigenous mothers into their home to provide them access to medical care, support and education in the weeks before and after the birth of a child. Find out more about her here.

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