Memorial of Saint Andrew Düng-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs

Rv 11:4-12; Ps 144:1,2,9,10; Lk 20:27-40

:  The Liturgy today invites us to sing a new song to the LORD.  This song we sing at each liturgy is new because we are a new creation.  We have changed since last we have gathered in the Holy Spirit to worship the Father through Christ the great high priest. Indeed the song of joy in our hearts continues through out the day from liturgy to liturgy.  In our praise filled hearts the LORD becomes our rock; indeed, he trains our hands for battle and our fingers for war—the real struggle between good and evil.  Christ our general in the well-fought fight is our mercy, our fortress, our stronghold, and our deliverer.  Christ is our shield; we trust in his power to rescue us and subdues our foes.  On the ten stringed lyre and with chant and praise we bless the Victor in Christ, the Son of David, who delivers us from the evil sword.  He it is who taught all the saints to trust and to praise, and today he teaches us the very same lesson in holiness.  We have no fear; we know that in life and in death we give a testimony worthy of the Lamb that was slain.  Indeed, our God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for him all are alive.  In him we honor our slain brothers and sisters, whose very witness spurs us onto glory, onto fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the heavenly choir.

The LORD has many witnesses after the Lamb opened the scroll.  The two olive trees are called the two lamp stands; they model for all of us who are called like Saint Cecilia to give ourselves as witnesses.  As olive trees we bear fruit that is pressed into oil for the healing of the nations.  As lamp stands we hold high the light of Christ so that everyone can see the truth that will liberate them.  Now in this time after the scroll is opened the witnesses of the LORD and the Lamb have great power in the Holy Spirit.  They breathe fire, close up the sky, turn water into blood, and afflict the earth with plagues.  After this time of testimony then the beast will arise from the abyss to wage war and destroy all the powerful witnesses.  Their corpses will lie in the main street of Sin City, call it Sodom, or Egypt, or even Jerusalem.  There the Lamb was sacrificed for the glory of the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many will gloat over the destruction of the powerful witnesses, but after three and a half days they will be filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit and rise and ascend on high to witness the final days of the world as we know it.  Like the Lord to whom we give witness, we are taken up into heaven in a cloud as our enemies look on.

All the virgins follow the Lamb wherever he leads.  Indeed, all who wait for the fullness of the Kingdom of God and neither marry nor are given in marriage, are powerful witnesses to the future.  Those in Christian Marriage have a unique testimony about the intimacy already available in union with Christ here and now.  Those who live in Christian Virginity have a unique testimony to the full outpouring of Christ and the full reception of his mystery in the beatific vision.  In the glory of heaven there is no marriage, as we know it here on earth.  There is no need to assure that our relatives have descendants to keep their memory alive and have their name survive in Israel. We live like angels; we are children of God.  We live never to die.  Indeed our marriage bond with the Lamb, begun in the Paschal Mystery and fulfilled in heaven, is now complete and unspeakably wonderful.  The New Moses has made our future clear, we will see God face to face; we will see him as he is—not just his back in wonder and fear.  This New Prophet speaks with the authority of one who knows the Father and his heavenly kingdom.  The Lord Jesus spoke from his personal experience of the Living God in Eternity and no one dared to ask him anything else to test him.  The backed off at least for this day.