Rv 22:1-7; Ps 95:1-7; Lk 21:34-36
Seldom do we bow down in worship. Our bodies seem so uninvolved in our life of faith. Yet, our faith is so rich with the earth and the stuff of creation. The water, the salt, the wheat, the grapes, the light, the darkness, the silence, and the wind, everything touches our senses and we are reminded of the LORD our God who made heaven and earth. Indeed it is the Incarnation that fixes us firmly upon the Rock of our salvation. We find our heavenly direction and our eternal bearings here in time and space. As we wait in joyful hope, we cry out “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!” Indeed, the feet of the saints rest solidly upon this earth while our hearts soar high above the sky. Psalm 95 invites a festive assembly. We are called to sing joyfully to the LORD. We are summoned to acclaim the Rock of our salvation. We enter into the presence of his majesty with great thanksgiving. This holy ruckus abounds because the LORD is the Great God; He is the King of all the so-called gods. In the hands of the LORD the depths of the earth are found and the tops of the mountains. His creative fingers have formed the vast sea and the dry land. Our whole being wants to bow down and worship; our entire body wants to prostrate itself in reverence and wonder. Indeed, we kneel before the LORD who made us his own. The LORD is God, and we are the people he shepherds; we are the flock he guides. With Saint John and all the Saints we will soon, and very soon, gaze upon the Face of the LORD and his name will be upon our heads. Indeed, the day of his coming will assault everyone upon the face of the earth. All of us will be surprised and some of us will be dismayed. While we wait it is the Eucharist that gives us a taste of the glory for which we were made and for which we long with the deepest longing. Indeed, we whisper in the quiet of our vigil and shout in the joy of our celebration: “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”
In the Book of The Beginning we read of a river running through the Garden of Eden. In this Book of The Endings we read of a new river running through the New Eden. Behold, the LORD makes all things new! With Saint John we behold what the angel is revealing. Behold a river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the Throne and from the Lamb. From under the Seat of the Most High and from the Side of the Crucified One we behold a gushing river. Behold a river of precious blood, a wellspring of divine life, flowing from the wounded side of the Lord Jesus, the obedient Son of God. Every tree planted by this life- giving stream is a tree for healing and for nourishment. Indeed, we are those trees that sink roots deeply in the fertile soil; we are the trees upon which good fruit abounds and feeds all who seek nourishment. Nothing putrid or vile is found near or far. Finally, all will behold directly and with their own eyes the Throne of God and of the Lamb. The blazing light of the Fire of Love, the Holy Spirit, lights up the universe which is the only Temple grand enough to hold the mystery of our God and King. His Word lights up he journey home. This Word is trustworthy and true; it is soon, and very soon fulfilled. Behold the LORD is coming and no one and nothing can prevent his arrival. Blessed are all of us who read the Beginning and the Ending. Blessed, in eyes and in heart, are all who trust the Word they read.
Our daily prayer, the disciple’s prayer, and the prayer we often call the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father has us pray for the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent. Several times each day we pray, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” We need strength to resist the temptation to despair. Without wisdom and patience from on High we could not endure the temptation to give up, because the struggle is so severe and the suffering is so unbearable. Such is the expectation of all who pray. Those who take prayer seriously take the end of the world seriously. It is the weariness that comes from the anxieties of daily life or the drowsiness that comes from escaping these anxieties that are our heart’s true enemies. Only a disciple’s heart is vigilant at all times. Only a faithful heart will keep praying to have the needed strength for all that is to come. We know that the dark night of the spirit will test us as we have never before been tested. Indeed, we will begin to doubt even our most fiercely held convictions simply because we feel nothing, and all is darkness. At just such moments the evil one is lurking in the shadows with the foul breath of the final temptation to give up and cease hoping for the coming of the Son of Man. It is at this time of great trial that we come to know that our only friend is darkness, and our only hope is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Cross is our only friend.