Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Rv 18:1-2,21-23;19:1-3, 9a; Ps 100:1b-2-5; Lk 21:20-28:  The priest invites us to Holy Communion with words similar to the Psalm refrain taken from the First Reading:  “Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.”  This call goes out to all the lands; everyone is invited to sing the joyful song of the wedding feast of the Lamb.  We are called to serve the LORD with gladness and to come before him singing the joyful song: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God of hosts…”  In our praise we come to know who we are because we proclaim who God is. He is our Creator, and we are his people the sheep of his flock.  Indeed, we follow the Lamb where ever he goes even to the Cross and into the glory of the resurrection.  At this point in the Mass we enter his gates with thanksgiving; we enter his courts with praise.  We can’t thank the LORD enough nor bless his Name adequately.  It will take an eternity to praise and bless His Name. The LORD is good and his kindness endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.  The first reading from the Book of Revelation invites us to look forward to the ultimate victory of the Lamb by looking at the victory over the fallen Babylon the great.  Every worldly power that forces us into exile is overcome completely in the victory of the Lamb of God.  The arrival of the Victorious One will come with great and awesome signs, but we need not fear.  Indeed, we delight because our total liberation is at hand.  The Lamb who takes away the sins of the world is the One who invites us to his supper and we have nothing to fear.

Saint John is overwhelmed with the vision of angels and their thunderous good news.  The mighty voice reveals the total and complete destruction of all the powers of Babylon which is a symbol of all power that dominates and oppresses those who are gentle as the Lamb of God.  The huge millstone around our neck is the power of those who lord it over us.  Their control does not last forever.  Their victory songs will no longer attract our attention.  Their great crafts and trade will never catch our fancy and lead us into the compromise of vice or the failure of sin.  Every false light will be extinguished by the Light of the World, Light from Light, True God from True God.  The passing joy of bride and groom will give way to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Never again will the people be led astray by the magic of this world, and its false promises.  Saint John’s heart was attracted to the loud voice of the great multitude in heaven singing:  “Alleluia!  Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments.  He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.  He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”  In every Liturgy we catch a glimpse of this heavenly vision. We are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.  Indeed, we are the spouse of the Christ who has come and will come to call us home forever.

Many years after the exiles return and rebuild their nation the Lord Jesus warns them about the desolation that is too close for comfort.  The Lord Jesus envisions the destruction of Jerusalem and warns everyone to try and escape. However the wrath of God’s judgment will fall upon his people and the city of the Lord will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  Whatever that means.  All we know for certain is that from the first exile to this new devastation Gentile Kingdom after Gentile Kingdom has arisen and fallen; yet the LORD is faithful to his people and to his covenant.  Though many of his people were faithful, many others were not, and upon them all comes inevitably the judgment of the Just Judge.  This severe mercy of God is manifest and magnificent in the Christ.  In the Lord Jesus we have a new and eternal judge who knows what it is like to be human. Christ is like us in all things except sin.  This Judge of the Nations has another warning for his disciples, even after the destruction of Jerusalem there will be yet another day of judgment when the entire cosmos will be on trial.  The signs preceding this Day of the Lord will startle and frighten people of every tribe, race, and nation.  Indeed, the Lord predicts, “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”  However, such fear and anxiety does not touch the hearts of those who wait upon his love.  We who long for his final coming rejoice daily in his coming to us in the Eucharist.  With the strength provided by the Bread of Life we will stand firm and hold high our heads to welcome the One Who Comes to establish the justice we cannot make happen ourselves.  Indeed, we need a Redeemer and indeed He Comes.