Thursday 24 November 2022 Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Week 34 OT
I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth was lit up with his glory. At the top of his voice he shouted, ‘Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.’ Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, ‘That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again. Never again in you, Babylon, will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels, the music of flute and trumpet; never again will craftsmen of every skill be found or the sound of the mill be heard; never again will shine the light of the lamp, never again will be heard the voices of bridegroom and bride. Your traders were the princes of the earth, all the nations were under your spell. After this I seemed to hear the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, ‘Alleluia! Victory and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication; he has avenged his servants that she killed.’ They sang again, ‘Alleluia! The smoke of her will go up for ever and ever.’ The angel said, ‘Write this: Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb’, and he added, ‘All the things you have written are true messages from God.’
Psalm 99 Happy are those who are invited to the wedding-feast of the Lamb.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come! ‘For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over. ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’
The second coming of our Lord has quite often been depicted with the most terrifying images, as in this Gospel, and always under the sign of fear.
But is this really the message the Gospel is proclaiming today? Let us just look at the last sentence: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” The core of the message of these last days of our liturgical year is not fear but hopefulness. And hope is the mark of the Christian people. Let us promote hope not fear in all we say and do.
La seconda venuta di nostro Signore è stata spesso rappresentata con le immagini più terrificanti, come in questo Vangelo, e sempre sotto il segno della paura.
Ma è davvero questo il messaggio che il Vangelo annuncia oggi? Osserviamo l’ultima frase: “Ma quando cominceranno ad accadere questi segni, state eretti e alzate il capo perché la vostra redenzione è vicina”. Il cuore del messaggio di questi ultimi giorni del nostro anno liturgico non è la paura, ma la speranza. E la speranza è il marchio del popolo cristiano. Promuoviamo la speranza e non la paura in tutto ciò che diciamo e facciamo.