34th Week, Wednesday, Nov 25

 Apocalypse 15:1-4 / Luke 21:12-19 

I saw the faithful ones: They were singing a victory song. 

The images of the sea of glass and the singing of the song of Moses recall the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Just as the Hebrews followed Moses across the Red Sea to victory and to the Promised Land, so Christians follow the Lamb across, the sometimes, fiery sea of this life to victory and the promised land of heaven.

As the victorious Christians gather on the opposite side of the sea, they strum their harps, symbols of victory, and sing a song of praise to God: "King of the nations, how right and true are your ways!....your just actions are seen by all."

In moments of trial and fiery tribulation, do we draw strength from the thought of final victory and heaven? "The main object of religion is not to get a man to heaven— but to get heaven into him." Thomas Hardy


Today the book of Revelation describes the last judgment as the final exodus. Plagues had struck the Egyptians; seven plagues strike those who have rejected Christ. Those who have followed Christ the Paschal Lamb and have crossed their Red Sea by being faithful in passing the lake and the fire of trials, enter the promised land. There they sing the song of Moses, the song of their liberation, to God, the Lord of history. Let this Eucharist be a song of praise to God for our liberation in Christ.


We may remember that during our school days, there are occasions when the teacher would give us a "surprise" test. It was certainly not a pleasant surprise at all, as we will be caught unprepared, and if we had not been keeping up with our studies, then the result won't be a surprise at all. But in such a "surprise" test, that's when it shows what we know and how diligent we are in our studies. In life there will be surprises, and like those "surprise" test in school, they are not usually pleasant at all.


What Jesus said in the gospel is certainly far from pleasant. In fact, it is painful to know that we will be persecuted for doing the good and right thing, which is actually quite surprising. What is painfully surprising is that the persecutors are not strangers but relatives and even family members. They may even be friends and colleagues. But in a time of the test of our faith, let us not be that surprised by who will be against us.


But in test of our faith, let us also be assured of who will be with us. Yes, Jesus will be there for us to give us an eloquence and a wisdom that will not only surprise our opponents, it will even surprise us. So let us prepare for the surprises in life, and we will know who Jesus is, who our friends are and who we really are.


Our baptism has made us witnesses of Christ. But it is not always an easy path, especially in times of great change, and even more so for missionaries. Difficulties will come from those closest to us. But we may rest assured that Christ is with us and that through his Spirit he will make us eloquent and give us the wisdom what to say and do. Do not be afraid! This may be easier said than done.


Let us Prayer

God our Father,

we believe that your plans for us

are for peace and courage, and not for fear.

Keep us open-eyed to the signs

of the constant coming of Jesus your Son.

Help us to commit ourselves untiringly

to the growth of your kingdom among us

by carrying out your plans for peace and love

and for all that makes our world more

your world and the way to your home.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.