Revelation 11: 4-12 “…When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.”
Psalm 144: 1-2, 9-10“…Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!. …”
Luke 20: 27 - 40 “… ‘The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise…”
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769 – 1852) Born in France and entered the convent at 19. She survived the French Revolution and the closing of her small convent. She endured a hard life moving to the U.S. and eventually fulfilled a life long dream working with Native American Indians when she established a mission in Sugar Creek Kansas and worked with the Potawatomi Indians. The children named her “Woman-Who-Prays-Always”.
Today’s overall arching theme is to remind us that we too will rise from the dead and join our Lord in Heaven if we are faithful to His teaching. As we near the end of the calendar year and Church cycle, it is good to be reminded of this reality since we are otherwise tempted to think only of our time here on earth and not life after death.
The reading in Revelation is so hard to make sense of and it is tempting to just turn away in frustration; I did so many times this last week. But, I can lose my irritation over my inability to see what the author is describing when I think of how hard it would be for a human being to verbalize an experience of heaven. Along with the Gospel, our first reading is also talking about the faithful being called to rise from the dead. In Revelation, we saw all those who gloated over the two fallen witnesses were shocked to see them come back to life and stand before them. And they hear a loud voice from heaven call the two prophets home by saying “Come up here.” The people didn’t like what the prophets were saying and were celebrating their demise.
Fast forward to today, and Christians are still suffering martyrdom in our world today; people don’t change. While most of us don’t go around killing people today, we are critical of those who hold fast to their Faith. So, who are our prophets (witnesses of the faith) today? And how do we react to their message? Many times I heard Pope John Paul II referred to as a prophet. I felt very close to this good and faithful servant of our Lord myself having seen him twice. Once in World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 and the second time in November of 2004 in Rome traveling with the Institute of Priestly Formation as they were celebrating their 10th Anniversary.
In Luke’s Gospel, which is a repeat of the Gospel from Sunday the 7th, Jesus tells the Sadducees that “those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage…they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. (Luke 20:35 & 36). And so we are reminded to think about the path we are taking and the true goal, heaven. We know there are a lot of false prophets out there and otherwise distractions. Let us keep our focus and pray for guidance to be able to discern the voice of the true prophet, so that we too might be called Home to rise and be with the Lord. Amen
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