Rv 14:1-5??; Ps 24:1-6??; Lk 21:1-4??
“?Such is the race that seeks the face of God.”
One question that arises in our readings for today’s mass is: Am I someone who seeks the face of God? Do I, at least on occasion behold the LORD in all creation, and do I know that the world and all who dwell in it have been called to holiness. Do I choose to follow the Lamb with all the saints around the Throne of Glory. Do I prefer Christ above all things. Am I detached from all relationships in the sense that I prefer no one or nothing more than I prefer Christ? Indeed, have I decided to give myself over to the praise of God. Do I sing and made music to the glory of His Name. How can all of us respond, even more, to the call of God? How can we have sinless hands and clean hearts? When will we turn away from useless desires? Only those who eat and drink at the banquet of Life, those who are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, will seek and find the face of the LORD. These are the virgins, martyrs and saints seen by Saint John in his visions; these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Like all the saints who have gone on before us, are we the ones who have made a sacrifice of love from the poverty of our lives like the poor widow in today’s gospel. Such a radical transformation in Christ is available here at the Banquet of the Lamb; we call Holy Mass.
What makes the face of the Saints shine? Perhaps it is the Names written upon their foreheads. Indeed, they know who they are and whose they are. What makes the hearts of the Saints sing? Perhaps they hear what the Visionary saw. With the ear of the heart, these holy ones listen to the sound of rushing water, the living waters of the Spirit that flow from the wounded side of the Lord Christ. Or perhaps they hear the loud peals of thunder that shook the cosmos on the day that the Lamb of God cried out, “Eloi, eloi lema sabachthani?” Or perhaps they listed to the sound of the heavenly harpists as they played and sang a new hymn before the Lamb, the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders. This crowd is also seen to be the Christ, his Evangelists, and the Twelve from both the Old and New Covenants. But how could some twenty-eight choir members make such a thunderous sound? Perhaps the others were joined in the heavenly chorus. The other hundred and forty-four thousand, who had been ransomed from the earth, had come to learn the words of the song never sung before. Just by following the Lamb faithfully they overheard the heart felt melodies. These songs of the redeemed were startling and rousing. Indeed, the melodies of the Lamb and his Bride, these are the love songs of the transforming union of Christ and his Bride; these have attracted the attention of the whole human family. “How can I keep from singing?” Indeed, it is the jubilation of such unblemished hearts and pure lips that summon all to become one and stand before the Lamb.
It happened regularly. Many wealthy people came to the temple treasury to make a great spectacle of their offerings. Blowing trumpets and shouting great praises, they came forward to be seen and to give good example. Perhaps they had heard the Lord Jesus teaching his disciples to not hide their lamps under baskets or beds. Or perhaps they heard him teach about doing good deeds to attract the attention of the public to the Father. Today, the Master has a new teaching. Like the new song of the beloved before the Lamb, the Lord Jesus notices the enormous love of the poor widow. Indeed, such a blazing love outshines all the surplus offerings of the wealthy. This easily ignored, powerless, and marginal widow attracts the pure and loving gaze of her Savior. He sees what only the heart can see. This woman gives more than all the wealthy because she gives from her poverty. Indeed, she has offered her whole livelihood. Such simple and pure love attracts the attention of the Lamb of God. His eyes are filled with tears of gratitude and his heart proclaims—see this is what I am about to do! Soon I will give my life. Soon I will die and give my life away. Soon you will know how to do what this poor widow is doing. This is the power of love, so sacrificial and so simple.