34th Week, Tuesday, Nov 24

Apocalypse 14:14-19 / Luke 21:5-13 

The Son of Man appeared: He wore a crown and carried a sickle.

The title "Son of Man" is the one Jesus applied most often to himself in the Gospels. He is obviously the figure seated on the cloud, wearing a crown and carrying a sickle.

The cloud symbolizes Jesus' Second Coming at the end of the world. The crown symbolizes his coming as king. The sickle symbolizes his coming as the harvester of the just; he is coming to take them to heaven. But there's a second set of images as well. Two angels appear to collect grapes and cast them into the winepress of God's wrath.       They are executing punishment upon the unjust.


Judgment is presented in the reading from Revelation as the reaping of the harvest.


Does the fact that we will be held accountable for all our actions, at the end of the world, have any effect on us? "I shall tell you a secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment; it takes place every day."


Prophesies about the end-times or about the end of the world may sound alarming. Yet contrary to expectations, it may not have produced the desired results.


There is no widespread panic or alarm, nor great numbers seeking forgiveness and mercy or even nation-wide or international movements of reformations.


In fact, the wrong-doings and acts of evil seem to continue to rise and fill the world from end to end, with no sign of repentance in sight even.


So, end-time prophesies have just become another topic of conversation, and we may also have become numbed to its message.


The 1st reading gives the image of two harvests. In the first harvest, a son of man with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand reaped a harvest. This is to symbolize the gathering of the righteous, and they are gathered by the love and mercy of God and vindicated for their faithfulness.


The second harvest seems to be at vintage time, when all the grapes are ripe, and this harvest is reaped by the angel with a sharp sickle and put into the winepress of God's anger.

This to symbolize the judgement of the wicked and evil-doers and their subsequent punishment. What must be stated is that God is love and mercy and forgiveness, and He waits patiently for sinners to repent and be reconciled with Him.


We may take a while to realize the message of repentance and forgiveness but let us not take forever. Because forever in the wrong place is a very very long time.


Jesus speaks of times of trials, directly of the fall of Jerusalem, which is a symbol of the end time. We may not forget that for us here and now the time of judgment is now: we prepare it now, we undergo, or better, create it now, by the way we live individually and as a community. “Do not be misled,” says Christ. In other words, his message is meant to shake us, to wake us up to live the gospel now.


We have our apocalyptic today, who are convinced that the end is approaching. Many of us are not that sure. But we are called to live our lives as if each day were the last. How often Paul issues the alert and tells us to wake from sleep. If we live a faith- filled life, we have no reason to fear. We affirm God’s future in our liturgy: “Christ will come again.” We say it, not in fear, but with trust and confidence.


Let us Pray:

Lord our God, our faith is not a quiet possession of the truth and of rights that may give us security. Make us realize that it is tested and that you call us to be credible witnesses in our time and our situation of the passion and resurrection of your Son. Give us your Holy Spirit to guide us and to keep our hope alive that Jesus is our Lord and you our God for ever.