Revelation 5:1-10

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Psalm 149

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in its Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre. For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters and their nobles with chains of iron, to execute on them the judgment decreed. This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the Lord!

Luke 19:41-44

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”



Today's scriptures tell a terrifying story of the destruction to come for those who do not recognize the time when God comes to them. In the gospel, Jesus weeps over the city as their enemies will fall upon them and destroy them. The psalmist describes how the two-edged sword will be in the hands of the righteous to execute vengeance. In the first reading, there are more tears, as no one is found worthy to open the scroll of God.

As we look forward, liturgically, to the season of Advent, our scriptures turn our attention to the most important things: how devastating are the effects of sin, and how we need a savior, worthy of God, to save us from destruction. In the first reading, no one is found worthy to open the scroll except the Lamb who had been slain. Through his blood, he has ransomed souls for God from every tribe and nation on earth. These are the ones who hear the good news of salvation, accept it, and serve God and build his kingdom on earth. They can only be saved through the sacrificial offering of the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who do not accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, will be destroyed like the city Jesus describes in the gospel.

In our world today, we see two camps. He see those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their redeemer, and those who have rejected him. Those who work for God work to bring about his kingdom on earth. They worship Him, and fight for souls in every respect. Like St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who spent her life giving and caring for the poor, we are called to serve the poor on earth be they physically or spiritually poor. If we do not, we will be like the ones in the gospel who did not recognize the time of their visitation.

Today, let us pray that we recognize the call of God to repent, turn our hearts toward him, and help others to do the same. St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.

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