Year B: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Daniel 12: 1-3
Daniel is a prophetic book which often deals with the theme of apocalypse: the catastrophic end to all things. It is written in dramatic and stirring language and is filled with memorable images.
Again, Daniel sees a time of distress but assures those who are named in the Book of life that they will be protected and kept safe in the turmoil around them. Eventually, the trauma will pass and even those who have died will be restored to life - a life which will reflect the life they lived on earth. For some, it will be a fulfilment of that life - others will recognise the full significance of their sin and selfishness. A special status is given to those who learned, reflected and passed on their wisdom to others: their destiny is to shine like the stars for all eternity.
The passing on of traditional wisdom and understanding of virtue remains as important today as it was recognised to be in Daniel’s day. It is tempting in the face of an increasing pace of technological change to feel that the past has nothing with which to inform the future. In fact, the opposite is probably true. It is true that the way people think is changing: we are becoming a more visual society, more influenced by what we see than what we hear. The old skills of listening to the myths and stories which helped children to learn deep truths are waning as they enter an age where the computer screen and television dominate. They absorb information and ideals through their eyes more readily than through their ears. It used to be thought that this was “passive” - and, indeed it can be but the increase in interactivity is engaging people in new ways. Those charged with the passing on of received wisdom may need to reflect on how they can pass this on to an increasingly individualistic, technical age. The future needs knowledge and the practice of virtue and integrity: perhaps even more than at any other time in history.
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring