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FEAR NOT FOR OUR LIBERATION IS AT HAND

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Rev. 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3, 9 & Lk. 21:20-28

There are contrasting scenes presented by Saint John in the First Reading today. One concerns evil and the other good. He tells us of the work of two angels. The first of them has great authority and his presence lights up the Earth. He announces the fall of Babylon, the symbol of evil. The second angel hurls a great millstone into the sea. The millstone is Babylon. It is gone forever.

The second scene is a much happier one. The saints rejoice in song. God has judged justly and destroyed all evil. An angel concludes, “Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” These words have been incorporated into the communion rite of the Mass when the priest holds up the Body of Christ and says, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.” The supper referred to is not the Last Supper but Heaven. These words are to remind us that the Eucharist is a pledge of future glory. The Eucharist is our spiritual nourishment that strengthens us on our journey to Heaven.

Saint Luke tells us in today's Gospel about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the coming of the Son of Man at the end of the world. These words for people without any faith can be very frightening and depressing. Pregnant women and those nursing babies will face severe hardships at this time, bringing new life into the midst of a death scene. Frightened people will die by the sword, driven from their homeland. Proud Jews will be trampled down by Gentiles. Could it get any worse? At the end of the world Luke speaks of cosmic destruction. He does not end on a frightening note but with the most encouraging and comforting words on how we are to respond, “When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.” This message of Jesus will always fill those who love Him with confidence and joy. We who follow Christ have no right to live in fear and worry.

Lord Jesus, may we lead lives of love and not fear, holding our heads high as we await our liberation.

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