A reading from the Book of Revelation
(Chapter 7:2-4, 9-14)
The Book of Revelation is most difficult book of the New Testament to understand. The context in which it was written is an important factor in increasing our understanding. It was a time of persecution, around 65 AD. Christians were being martyred for their faith, and it seemed to them to be the end of days. Many thought the world as they knew it would end. The author of Revelation assures them that they are the elect and will be saved by Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Over the centuries, and even in our time, various sects have taken these words literally and gone to a mountain or desert to wait for the end of the world. Of course, nothing happens, and then they go about their lives wondering what it was all about.
Sometimes, in the worst times of our lives, we experience our own little apocalypse when we do not know how we might go on in the face of loss or deep suffering. At those times, we can experience the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is always with us but whose presence is often somewhere in the background of our lives. The worst times can turn out to be times of enlightenment and healing in the Spirit. Has that happened to you? Do you pray to the Spirit of God within you during those times?
(Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6)
“Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.” We are that people today. We long to see God’s face but in good time, not yet. Most of us would like to stay in this life as long as we are able, and so we can see the face of God even now in so many ways, in so many people, if we have the eyes and hearts to see. Where or in whom do you see the face of God?
A reading from the first Letter of Saint John
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Wow! That is one of the most joyful and amazing passages in the whole Bible: “We shall be like him., for we shall see him as he is.” Please spend some time reflecting on what that means to you. This is what our faith teaches us. It is what we believe as Christians, but too often it gets lost in so many other laws, teachings, and rituals. This is it. This is the promise. This is our greatest hope. Let us rejoice.