Revelation 4:1-11

After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,

“Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Psalm 150:1-6

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Luke 19:11-28

As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.



Today’s readings present us with an almost overwhelming picture of the kingship of God and an even more overwhelming picture of our own free will. In the book of Revelation, we see John’s vision of the King of kings seated in majesty, with saints and angels around the throne proclaiming His holiness and omnipotence and praising His creation and eternal being. The thought of the One who always was and Who created everything alone ought to fill us with awe. It is generally accepted by scientists that all the matter in the universe was forged in the stars; and God made the stars. And because God is all-powerful, He does not grasp at power, but rather He gives it away. He endows His rational creation, made in His own image, with free will to obey Him or not. And when His rational creation fell into disobedience, He came down from the stars among us.

So in the gospel today, Jesus describes what we do with our free will in the face of His sovereignty. There are those good and faithful servants who accept the grace given and work with it and gain an increase. There are those lazy and wicked servants who take the grace for granted and do nothing with it. There are also those who will not suffer themselves to become subordinate to the king or accept His authority, who make themselves His enemies.

In both the ancient world and ours, we would expect to see the productive servants promoted but the unproductive servant upbraided and dismissed. In Jesus’s time, the thought of the enemies being brought into the king’s presence to be slaughtered would not have been quite so shocking, but more of a standard wartime procedure. Yet if we consider the context of the passage, we can comprehend something else shocking and incredible about this blood-debt owed by the king’s enemies to the king. We note that at both the beginning and end of the passage, we are told that Jesus is headed to Jerusalem. He is not going up to exact the blood-debt of His enemies. He is going up to pay it in their stead. The king Himself has become a good and faithful servant, and of His own will is laying down the supreme privilege that is rightly His to purchase something more precious.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we meditate on the virtues of gratitude and generosity, giving thanks for the good in our lives and seeking to give away that good to benefit others. We seek to be like those good and faithful slaves, who freely submit to the authority of the King and give away His precious gifts to gain an increase for His kingdom. Today, let’s ask ourselves where we are cooperating with the King, and where in our hearts or in our behaviors we may not yet have submitted ourselves to let Him reign over us. Let’s pray for the grace of greater awe of our King and love of our Redeemer, to freely bring ourselves into greater obedience, and for an increase in grace and the fruits of conversion in our lives. Mary our mother, pray for us.

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