- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

November 19, 2016

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

33rd Saturday in Ordinary Time
Revelation 11: 4-12; Luke 20: 27-40

As we come to the close of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to ponder the words of the Book of Revelation. If we are to be the “Light of the World” must expect to be persecuted. Ours is a God of risks. Remember, the Author of Life Himself was crucified. However, death could not hold Him captive. Similarly, the witnesses of Revelation were raised up and taken into their Heavenly Homeland.

The two olive trees and two lamp stands brings to mind how Jesus sent out the disciples “two by two and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits” (Mk. 6:7). Living a gospel life requires the help and support of a brother, of a sister. We cannot live the Gospel in isolation. We need one another. That being said, while we are called to be one in Christ, we are not called to look nor to act identically. The strength of the Church is in its diversity of gifts. The two witnesses testified to the paschal victory of Christ, sealing their testimony with their deaths.

If we listen to Pope Francis, we hear him saying that Christians are called to bear witness to the work of God in the world. As witnesses of Christ, we are raised up to speak against the neglect of human dignity and to defend the truth. As witnesses of Christ we are commissioned to speak against indifference to the poor and abuse of the earth, our common Mother. As witnesses of Christ, we are challenged to be burning and shining lights in a world that is wrapped in darkness. In Christ’s faithful witnesses is found the manifestation of God’s love and mercy for the world. God’s witnesses must not grow weary of giving service nor should they flee suffering. In their weakness, they manifest God’s strength. In their apparent defeat, they testify to God’s ultimate victory.

God has not given us the spirit of timidity or fear. Rather, He has poured into our hearts the Spirit of power, courage and endurance so as to meet the challenges that confront us. With the help of the Spirit we will be able to bear afflictions so as to proclaim the Glory of Grace. It is in Him that we live, and move and have our being. When He comes to reveal Himself as the One Who conquered death, may He bring us all together into everlasting life.