Rv 4:1-11; Ps 150:1-6; Lk 19:11-28
“Let everything that has breath: praise!”
Nothing has breath without the divine breath. The Holy Spirit hovered over the chaos in the beginning and breathed life and peace upon the new earth. Since that moment everything that lives and breathes praises the LORD. With all creation we are summoned to enter into the heart of the LORD, into his sanctuary to praise him in the firmament of his strength. They praised him for his mighty deeds; they praised him for his sovereign majesty. With the blast of trumpet, with lyre, and with harp, they praised the LORD. They joined in the jubilation of heaven with timbrel, with dance, with strings, and with pipes. Just in case you missed the point King David offers one more musical reference: they praised him with sounding cymbals, indeed with the clanging of cymbals they praised the LORD, the King of Israel. David, the King wanted all the nations, everything that has life and breath to praise the LORD. Indeed, this is the man after God’s own heart; King David shared the vision of the LORD to have all creation cry out, Alleluia! Such praise is impossible without the breath of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the face of the earth. It is in the celebration of the Liturgy that we catch a glimpse and already taste the goodness of the LORD. With Saint John the Divine we hear the summons, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.” Indeed, the expectation of the Lord Jesus that the Kingdom of God would appear in Jerusalem immediately was fulfilled in the Last Supper which is the Supper of the Lamb. This same expectation opens us radically to receive the mystery of the Kingdom every time we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus the Christ.
As the dark days of late autumn fall upon us, the liturgy lights up our days with a vision of an open door to heaven. There we hear a trumpet like voice offering a summons to come and see—come and see what is and will be to come. In the spirit of prayer, in the Holy Spirit of the Holy, Holy, and Holy LORD, we are caught up in the vision. The first sight we behold is the throne; it is first chronologically because the LORD is first in our hearts and in our thoughts each day. The throne is unspeakably beautiful; it is surrounded with a brilliance we cannot see with the human eyes. We need faith to behold such glory. The seven spirits, the great angels of the LORD are coming and going as the twenty-four elders sit and the four creatures gaze in wonder, hearts full of praise and mouths full of wonder. These four living creatures are covered with six wings and eyes inside and out. The Lion, the Calf, the Human, and the Eagle all give testimony to the Lamb who sits upon the throne and to the LORD whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Indeed, with all the inhabitants of the heavens we gather to worship him who is Lord, who lives forever and ever. We join in the parecorisis, the divine dance, of all creation. Indeed, we throw down our crowns before the Throne and the Lamb. Indeed, we cry out with all the heavenly hosts, “Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.” This vision of our future glory alone can sustain us and urge us on to accept greater and greater responsibility from the King who has gone on before us.
In Saint Luke’s version of this parable we hear about the deep motivation of the third servant, the wicked servant. This servant is by his own admission was paralyzed by fear, this we hear in his voice, “I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.” When we are afraid of the LORD, we do not live in the fear of the LORD. This servant was thoughtless and paralyzed so he did not even take his master’s money to the bank and let it earn interest. Perhaps this was too much of a risk for the servant. Indeed, this could have been the master’s purpose in handing out large sums of money to his servants; he trusted them and he did not trust the bank. However, this wicked servant was not trustworthy, even with a smaller, more modest sum. Perhaps that’s why the master didn’t give him as much as the others; the master must have had other reasons to suspect his trustworthiness. Saint Luke reminds us that the Lord Jesus told this parable on the way up to Jerusalem. This places the whole story in the context of the greater story of the Paschal Mystery. Indeed, the Lord Jesus is on his way to the cross and the glory. On his way to the climax of the story, the expectation for the immediate arrival of the Kingdom of God is addressed in this parable. The Master Christ, is sharing the treasures of the Kingdom with his servants. Some are more trusted and some less trusted, but all receive part of the treasure. If we are afraid of the Lord Jesus, even the little we have will be taken away and given to another. If we live in the Fear of the Lord, we will come to share in the joy of the Master. Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Indeed, our Master Christ is trustworthy, and we know this because he has entrusted us with the treasure of his Kingdom already here, but not yet fully here. Indeed, this is the treasure, the pearl of great price. Are we willing to go sell all that we have to obtain such a treasure?