Daily Reflection – Nov 24, 2016
Thursday 24 November 2016
First Reading: Apocalypse 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb
Gospel Reading: Luke 21:20-28
Today’s Saint: St Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”
In the Jewish and then the Christian minds, Babylon symbolised all that was corrupt, unjust, and wicked in a society. The Jew had spent 50 years in exile in Babylon, and they had not forgotten it. For Christians, Rome was the new Babylon, for it seems the centre of all economic and political oppression, enslavement, idolatry, and cruelty.
Revelation celebrates the fall of Babylon, referring of course to Rome, their oppressors. The massage: in the end, nothing that is opposed to God can stand. God will always triumph over evil and injustice, and we must believe that with all our hearts.
How would it be possible to find something hopeful in the midst of chaos and destruction? Luke describes the end-times, calling to mind the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. But he insists that this is just the prelude to the return of Jesus – an event that we all hope and yearn for. Luke goes a step further: when it seems the worst, stand tall and hold your head up high, for your redemption or freedom is at hand. In these troubled times, let us focus on the majesty, power, and love of Christ. Though the world may seem to be in turmoil, we can put our hope and trust in his.
“Lord, grant me greater courage and faith.”