34th Week, Thursday, Nov 26

 Apocalypse 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9 / Luke 21:20-28

 Babylon has fallen!: "Praise God"'


John observes two things in his vision. First, an angel passes judgment on Rome, signified by the code name "Babylon." The angel casts a large stone into the sea.

As the stone disappears into the sea without a trace, so will the evil forces of Rome be doomed to disappear without a trace. Second, John hears loud singing from heaven: "Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God! True and just are his judgments!" Then an angel appears and tells John: "Write this: Happy are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb."


When trials and temptations descend upon us, do we draw strength by considering the fate of those who yield to evil? "What we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18


In 539 B. C. King Darius had taken the great city of Babylon that had driven the Jews into exile. Likewise, the new Babylon, the city of Rome that was persecuting the young Church, will fall and Christians will openly sing the praise of God.


We can learn good lessons from nature just by observing and reflecting. For example, the darker the night, the brighter the stars. And cloudy skies make beautiful sunsets. So, nature has a way of telling us that tribulation will give way to celebration, and distress will give way to success, just as the dark of night will give way to the light of day. These lessons from nature are actually reiterating what we heard in the 1st reading and the gospel.


The 1st reading began with tribulation and destruction, but following that were songs of victory and rejoicing and the celebration of a wedding feast. In the gospel Jesus talks about a time of great tribulation and distress and destruction of the city of Jerusalem and her inhabitants. But He also talks about the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory, and a time of liberation. So, the lessons of scripture tell us that God who foresaw our tribulation, has prepared us to go through it, not without pain, but without stain. The trials and tribulations in life do not build character; they merely reveal it.


So, let us be patient in tribulation, let us rejoice in hope and let us be constant in prayer. That will be enough to be able to see bright stars in the dark night.


The destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of disaster in nature are for us signs of the trials of the Christian life and of the difficult coming of God’s kingdom among people. But let us not forget that we ourselves too delay this kingdom, by our selfishness, our hunger for power, all the evil we cause one another. Yet our meager efforts will help to bring salvation nearer. With the help of Christ present among us, we can grow in love, forgiveness, compassion, and peace. We should keep our heads raised in hope.


Let us Pray:

Lord our God, we are your people on the march who try to carry out the task of giving shape to your kingdom of love and peace.  When we are discouraged and afraid, keep us going forward in hope.  Make us vigilant in prayer, that we may see the signs of your Son’s coming.  Let Jesus walk with us already now on the road he has shown us, that he may lead us to you, our living God for ever and ever.