YOUR PERSEVERANCE YOU WILL SECURE YOUR LIVES
Today the book of Revelation describes the last judgment as the final exodus. Plagues had struck the Egyptians; seven plagues strike those who have rejected Christ. Those who have followed Christ the Paschal Lamb and have crossed their Red Sea by being faithful in passing the lake and the fire of trials, enter the Promised Land. There they sing the song of Moses, the song of their liberation, to God, the Lord of history. Let this Eucharist be a song of praise to God for our liberation in Christ.
Our baptism has made us witnesses of Christ. But it is not always an easy path, especially in times of great change, and even more so for missionaries. Difficulties will come from those closest to us. But we may rest assured that Christ is with us and that through his Spirit he will make us eloquent and give us the wisdom what to say and do. Do not be afraid! This may be easier said than done.
God our Father, we believe that your plans for us are for peace and courage, and not for fear. Keep us open-eyed to the signs of the constant coming of Jesus your Son. Help us to commit ourselves untiringly to the growth of your kingdom among us by carrying out your plans for peace and love and for all that makes our world more your world and the way to your home. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: Revelation 15:1-4
I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God’s fury is accomplished. Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 7-8, 9
R. (Rev. 15: 3b) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. R.
The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. R.
Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy. R.
Before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth; He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity. R.
Alleluia Revelation 2:10C
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 21:12-19
Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
There is in the Revelation vision today the preannouncement of the last tribulation, the seven last plagues. But first is the vision of the saved, those who had triumphed over the beast and won deliverance. They are standing on the sea of glass, the transparent waters typical of the heavenly realm. They are said to sing the song of Moses (Exod 15). It does not draw explicitly on the Exodus song, but it does combine themes from a number of hymns, forming an Old Testament collage that illustrates God’s deliverance. It is important to remember that many New Testament writings were written in the midst of early church persecution. What they show is an unquestionable faith in the power of Christ. The Gospel today speaks of the persecution that the early disciples faced. It speaks of a betrayal by others, even members of one’s family. But perseverance will be rewarded.
This is all summed up in the psalm of the day. We are to rejoice unceasingly before God, “for he is coming to judge the earth.”
– For the Church, that free from all paralyzing fears it may have the courage born of faith to bear witness to the demands of the gospel, we pray:
– For the leaders of the Church, that in our difficult times they may not be men and women of fear but of trust in God, we pray:
– For the prophets in our midst, sent by God to wake us up from our complacency, that we may not muzzle them but heed their call for conversion, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, accept this bread and this wine as signs that we are committed to build up your kingdom in our world. May our attitudes and decisions in life be those of Jesus, your Son: to seek your dawn of love and service rather than self-destructive selfishness, to be constructive and creative in giving shape to a new earth rather than to be critical of the past. May we thus fully encounter you one day in the joys of a new heaven. Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord God, your Son Jesus destroyed our death by dying and by rising he restored our life. By the strength of this Eucharist
May we and the whole of humanity grow up in Christ day after day through the pains and tensions of all growth. But keep alive in us the joy of a firm hope that your dawn of justice is coming to make us and all things new and that Jesus will return to make us share in his glory for good and for ever. Amen!
Do not fear. We are in God’s hands. Trust in God. And let his Spirit live and speak and act in us, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!