Scripture: Lectionary 503. Revelation 14:1-3,4-5. Psalm 24: 1-2, 3-4,5-6. Luke 21:1-4:
Frequently during the scenes that succeed one another in the Book of Revelation we come to experience what John does in the divine liturgy.
In some ways, the Apocalypse is a reflection of the Mass and the celebration of the Word of God in the Eucharist. Jesus is now seen as the pierced Lamb of God who no longer is sacrificed but is rather victorious over death and all forms of evil and sin. The Lamb is standing on Mount Zion the citadel which was David’s victory in the past and enabled him to create the sacred city of Jerusalem as a unifying place for both the Northern tribes (ten of them) and the Southern tribes (two of them). The number of one hundred and forty-four thousand is symbolic of a great multitude representing the twelve tribes of Israel and the righteous ones from those tribes who now surround the throne of God and the Lamb standing next to God. We are not to fear that the number is limited and does not speak of us; there are myriads and myriads of others who are in the royal courtyard of God who also is surrounded by countless legions of angels. This is a glorious and victorious scene that shows that God and the Lamb of God are victorious over all the nations and the universe.
We are to be numbered among those countless saints and holy witnesses (martyrs) who will eventually be there with the one hundred and forty-four thousand representing the tribes of Israel. Jesus had come to save the lost sheep of Israel and the visionary is now experiencing this salvation of his fellow brothers and sisters. This is a powerful
worship scene that brings home the key message of the Book of Revelation, namely, “Worship God alone!”
Psalm 24 is an excellent entrance hymn for this divine liturgy and it speaks of lifting the gates that lead into Jerusalem, that is Zion, while the crowds throng on the roads up to the holy city which represents on earth what is happening in a more magnificent way in the heavens.
No one is excluded from the portals of heaven. The baptized witnesses have access and so do all the righteous of all ages. Redemption like creation is a universal experience for the people of God then and now and forever. God is the Alpha and the Omega as we learn from chapter one of Revelation and Jesus, the Lamb of God reigns forever and ever.
Jesus has told us many times that he came to save sinners. We all therefore have a chance to enter the kingdom if we commit ourselves to God through faith and the sacraments. The Lamb of God has poured out his life for all the sheepfolds and sheep. The many are all for that is what the word means. It is all inclusive in the realm of the
Spirit. We therefore cry out with joy, “Lord, we are your people who long to see your face.” Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.