Christ the King - Year B
One Like A Son of Man
Last week we read a portion of the book of Daniel that had a dream or vision of heaven. The author imagined it as if heaven were a Middle Eastern royal court. In a similar dream, he pictures God as an "Ancient One" or elder. Suddenly someone "like a son of man" comes zooming in on the clouds.
When we read the word "like" we must recognize this is meant to be a comparison, not a specific image. Jesus usually began his parables by saying, "The kingdom of God is like..." In this case, the person is compared with a "son of man". This was a stock phrase that simply mean "human". Any human of either gender was called a "son of man". So the figure that enters heaven is human-like in appearance. The author may be describing an angel; possibly the archangel, Michael. The Church interprets this figure as Jesus. The reference to "kingship" is appropriate for today's feast.
The Alpha And Omega
The book of Revelation has many parallels to the book of Daniel. Today's second reading seems to be a continuation of the first. The figure on the clouds is clearly identified as Jesus. One additional element is the reference to "Alpha" -- the first letter of the Greek Alphabet -- and Omega -- the last letter (equivalent to our long O). In English Jesus might say, "I am the A and the Z."
The text implies that all creation began with Christ and will end with him. Our past origins and our future salvation are only to be understood in and through him.
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