34th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Rev 22:1-7
John said: An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street, On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.” “Behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.
Gospel: Lk 21:34-36
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
DRINKING WATER FROM THE RIVER OF LIFE: Our reflection here on drinking from the river of living water aims to acquaint us with the Grace of God that reaches us through various vocations as set forth in the Word of God and the teachings of the church. Christ has invited us to stay awake every time we pray. Ask yourself, ‘Do you sometimes sleep without praying?’ We see some vigilant in the halls of luxury, drunkenness, gluttony, immorality, some armed with weapons and others on guard also forgetting that, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalm 127: 1-2).” So! Do I give God a place in my life and activities at all times? God is the source of the river of grace to which we are invited to join in and drink the water of life and distribute it to others.
Prayer: O Lord, may your grace enable me to overcome sin.
JESUS IS NEAR: Jesus repeatedly warns his disciples during the latter part of his ministry to stay alert and be ready for his return. What does being ready mean? Does it mean knowing the exact time of his return — the day or the hour? No, we cannot know when he will return (Mat 24:36-39). So, what does it mean? It means to live in faithful vigilance, expectation, and hope for Jesus’ return. He stands near and can return at any time. Therefore, we should prepare our hearts every time by repenting. This is exactly what every Christian is expected to do. As the liturgical year comes to a close, the Christian is prepared to enter into the season of Advent with a mind set on the coming of Christ.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to make myself available to you.
PEOPLE ARMED WITH GOD, PEOPLE FOR GOD: Jesus seems to be picking men who will later form his core group. He was well aware that these men have not many things to show forth, not their birth and upbringing, nor their class and their learning. But being men who proved their mettle in their trade, remarkable at doing what they are best, he fancied them. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). That is the touchstone of your faith: by which, one stands out and show forth that he is for God and with Him. God expects unmatched allegiance, persons who will stand with Him and stand for him. You are set right with God by your belief. It is this firm belief in the Risen Lord and the freedom to proclaim it with one’s lips that makes us powerful Christians. It is not blind nature at work, but Human will working alongside the inspiration from above. Let this belief in Jesus Risen, ring in a new era, and a fresh enthusiasm in the living of our faith. May we work as heralds of a new age of God’s reign.
BE VIGILANT AT ALL TIMES: Today is the last day of the liturgical year. Tomorrow we begin the Season of Advent. During advent, we will hear messages similar to the gospel of today: stay away, be vigilant, pray. Perhaps these are perennial messages for our whole life. These messages could be summarized in the words of St Augustine, “Don’t let the Lord pass you by!” Abraham was sitting in front of his tent at the middle of the day (Gen 18:1f). He saw “three men” passing by. He recognized something divine about them. He welcomed them. It was indeed the Lord-God. Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law (Ex 3:1f). He saw the bush in flames. He recognized something divine about it. He approached it. It was indeed the Lord-God. We need to always be ready to be surprised by grace. It would be difficult to recognize the moment of grace if we are not vigilant at all times.