Revelations 18: 1-2, 21-23; 19: 1-3, 9a “…Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
Psalm 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5 “…Know that the Lord is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends...”
Luke 21: 20-28 “…And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But, when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
St. James of Marche (1394-1476) Born in Central Italy along the Adriatic Sea, he earned doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia. He was ordained in 1420; he was called one of the “four pillars” of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. Considered a very popular preacher, he was also known for establishing a non-profit credit loan organization that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. See the American Catholic site: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/SaintOfDay/default.asp?id=1213
Today’s reading in Revelations describes the falling of a healthy nation, the Roman Empire of long ago. John describes through the voice of an angel in a storybook way all the people and things that will never be witnessed again from this fallen nation. Because “she has become a haunt for demons…a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”(Rev. 18:2) In describing those who will be no more, the mighty angel says “because your merchants were the great ones of the world, all nations were led astray by your magic potion.” (Rev. 18:23) Also contained in this section although not listed for today’s reading, beginning in verse 4, another voice from heaven telling all to “depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues, for her sins are piled up to the sky, and God remembers her crimes.” And at the end of the reading from Chapter 19, the angel says “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb…these words are true; they come from God” (Rev 19:9) The Lord made all of us and thus He calls each of us to follow Him. Lord, we don’t always go where we want to go, sometimes we fall into some of our ways, give us the grace to hear your voice, to be better listeners. When the Son of Man returns to the earth, will there be anyone with any faith left to receive Him?
The message that God wants us to be totally dependent on Him; that if we step back, or become weak, His Way can be revealed to the world is very much a part of this vividly told depiction of the destruction of the great city. We also hear that the destruction is imminent for those who consistently make poor choices. The problem with listening to the devil for too long is eventually you can’t hear the voice from Heaven calling you back anymore. Each day we all follow that destructive course, but today’s message says to turn away with all your will, for whole countries have been destroyed for following that course, as in today’s message about the fall of Rome. Blessed are those who hear His voice and answer. God is asking not telling; He’s asking for our consent to submit totally to His Will. Going to Mass on Sundays, but thinking you’d rather be doing something that is more fun, is not total submissiveness. If we can submit totally, then we’ll be able to avoid all the other traps we human beings fall into. Like judging other people for the choices they make. God says let me do the judging, I want you to mirror my Love to them, for that is one of the ways I am trying to reach them. But Lord it is so hard to submit totally to You; sometimes it feels like jumping off a cliff with only a bungee cord attached. Help us to trust You more Lord.
In the Gospel, Luke is also talking about the end times, when the Lord will come back for those who have heard His voice and give their consent to do His Will. When he walked the earth, Jesus said of these people, "One day you will be with me in Paradise." At this, the ending of the liturgical year we hear the message about the “end times,” it is hard to face these Words that speak of such destruction, but we are invited to do so anyway. “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:26-28) On this day, may each of us stand with courage to face this message, because as Christians we are facing a Merciful God, one who loves us too much to not give us the whole picture, or as much of it as we are able to comprehend. All He asks for is our consent, our YES to living our lives in His service, so that the least among us will be served too. Part of our consent and total submission will be a repenting heart.
“Beloved and most holy word of God! You enlighten the hearts
of the faithful, you satisfy the hungry, console the afflicted; you make
the souls of all productive of good and cause all virtues to blossom; you
snatch souls from the devil’s jaw; you make the wretched holy, and men
of earth citizens of heaven.” (Sermon of St. James) – From the
same website as indicated above. St. James of Marche pray for us
in these our difficult times.
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