The first reading is a little unfair. Written n 167 B.C. it purports to be a vision written in 600 B.C. . It sees the succeeding kingdoms of the Babylonians, Medes, Persians and Greeks in the form of beasts. But prophesies made after the events they prophesy are not all that great.
The Gospel is another thing. It has great value. It is the last Gospel of the Church year, and it comes across as the last Gospel for our lives. It tells us to pray for strength to withstand the “tribulations that are imminent.” We could not be given better advice that that.
By a quirk of our nature each of us humans feel that since I have been around as far back as I can remember, so I will always be around. Steve Jobs, the founder of the Apple Computer Company who passed away recently announced that I was a great break for him when the doctor told him he had just two month to live.
That let him push aside the delusion he shared with us of living on and on. The doctor enabled him to get planning on spending well the time he had left. In today’s Gospel Jesus acts as your doctor and mine. He tells us not to let “that day catch you by surprise.”