Daily Homily: Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty

Wednesday of the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Year Two

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Revelation 4:1-11
Psalm 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 19:11-28

Chapter Four of the Book of Revelation switches from the situation of the seven churches to the things that will take place, to the events that lead up to the fall of the great city of Babylon and the victory of the King of kings.

John is taken up into heaven to see what must take place. He sees how the prophet Daniel’s prophecy about the Son of Man is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. «John portrays Christ as the One who, in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, receives the kingdom and gives it to the saints» (M. Barber, Coming Soon, Emmaus Road, 82).  Chapter Four of the Book of Revelation concerns the liturgy of creation that praises the Father as the Maker of all and Chapter Five concerns the liturgy of redemption that praises the Son, the Lamb, as the Savior of all.

John sees twenty-four elders around God’s throne. This looks back to the twenty-four divisions of priests who served in the earthly temple and looks forward to the priestly worship of the saints in heaven. The lightning and thunder recall Mount Sinai, when God told Moses that he wants to make Israel a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6-7).

John also sees four living creatures around the throne. This recalls the twelve tribes of Israel grouped around the Tent of Meeting in the wilderness. The tribe of Judah encamped to the east (Numbers 2:3) with the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun and was symbolized by a lion (Genesis 49:8). The tribe of Ephraim encamped to the west (Numbers 2:18) with the tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin and was symbolized by an ox (Deuteronomy 33:17). The tribe of Reuben encamped to the south (Numbers 2:10) with the tribes of Simeon and Gad and was symbolized by a man (for he was the first-born son of Jacob). The tribe of Dan encamped to the north with the tribes of Naphtali and Asher and was symbolized by an eagle (according to Jewish tradition). This arrangement recalls that Moses modeled the worship of Israel on the pattern he saw in heaven. «Yet, whereas ancient Israel copied the worship of heaven – the Church actually participates in the heavenly liturgy» (M. Barber, Coming Soon, 87). In the heavenly liturgy, the four living creatures proclaim God’s holiness, while the twenty-four elders worship God as the Creator of all things. The angels and saints of heaven worship the Lord God and the Lamb.

The Gospel sees Jesus address those who thought that the Kingdom of God would appear immediately. Jesus is approaching the city of Jerusalem and will soon make a royal entry (Luke 19:28-48). The Kingdom is a mystery that is announced by Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry as near and at hand; that same Kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus on the night of the Last Supper. And this means that after Jesus’ Resurrection, the Kingdom is a reality that is both present in the Church, having been inaugurated by Christ, yet awaits its definitive realization at the end of time.

Today’s parable teaches us that, after Jesus’ Resurrection, we have been entrusted with a gold coin. Paul himself speaks of the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) and of God (Romans 11:33); and Jesus himself compares the Kingdom to a pearl of great price. We are to engage in trade with these coins until Jesus returns in glory as king. In Jesus’ parable, one servant earns ten coins from his investments with the Master’s coin, another five. A third servant, however, does nothing. He was overcome by fear and did not carry out the command of his Master.

We too would have reason to fear if we had to rely solely on our own talents and strengths as we work in God’s vineyard. The gold coin we have been given is not our own, but is a gift from God. We must remember that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing; but with Jesus, all things are possible. United to Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit, we have no reason to fear as we work to share the treasure of Christ and await the return of our King. We are filled with hope because both Revelation and Luke foresee the victory of God over evil, the destruction of God’s enemies and the reward of God’s faithful servants.

Each time we pray the Our Father, we pray, «Thy Kingdom Come!». In this way we pray for the final coming of the Kingdom of God through Christ’s return in glory. We pray that the Kingdom increase from now on through our growth in holiness in the Spirit and through our commitment to the service of justice and peace (CCC, 2816-2821; 2859).

Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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