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Living to Your Fullest

First Reading: Daniel 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.“This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
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.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:57-61

R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Gospel: Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

NAB

nov 23

As parents, we try to shield our children from the atrocities, both natural and man-made of the world. There are times when my children come to me after having heard the latest tragedy in the news, at school or if we accidentally leave the sound on the television (we try to be very mindful, but we’re not perfect!). The look of fear and panic in their faces is heartbreaking because they don’t understand how or why anything bad can happen to anyone.

When they come to me with questions of “why,” I respond that we as people are fallen and sometimes, bad things happen in the world, but it shouldn’t be our focus.

I don’t want my children to live in fear of stepping out of their front door.

I shift the focus: they should live their lives to the fullest. I don’t just use words either, through my actions I show them.

I left my job to spend time with them because I love them and want to create moments and memories that they will always remember long after I am gone. I’ve worked in corporate, was an opera singer, traveled the world, and committed to finishing my degree every night, with them on my lap. I converted to the Catholic faith four years ago and have fallen head over heels with all of our Catholic treasures. I’ve seen my husband, a life-long atheist convert earlier this year.

While prayer is a huge part of all of these “accomplishments,” it’s active faith—lived out that has the most impact. Living a Christian life in spite of tragedy, difficulty and strife. Lord knows, I’ve had my full share of these.

We can’t live in fear of the end of anything. We live in the hope of what comes next and live every day to extend that horizon of our lives until our ultimate end, where we meet God in full confidence saying “I have done Your will.”

Reflect over your life, have you lived in fear of the end, or have you lived in the hope of what comes next?

Cristina Trinidad is a married, stay at home mother of two children. She recently opened an Etsy shop named after Luke 1:38, where she offers inspirational and faith based hand embroidered designs. Visit her shop Handmaid Embroidery or learn more about her at her blog.

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