Advent with Revelation (Ch. 1)
November 28, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Introduction

[To spend Advent with the Book of Revelation may help restore the season’s orientation to the future coming of Christ in glory and judgment and not only his first coming at Christmas.  The powerful imagery and strangeness of the Apocalypse can serve as an antidote to the sentimentality that so often clouds these weeks drawing our attention away from Advent’s serious and sobering challenge to prepare for that future through unswerving fidelity to Christ even during times of persecution and martyrdom. The twenty-two chapters of John’s Revelation fit perfectly in a season which, depending on the year, may comprise just that many days. Most of the time, however, a few days will remain in which to shift our focus to the Christ Child and the mystery of Incarnation.  Each post will comprise a whole chapter accompanied by three comments from various sources (“lectio divina”) along with a piece of art (“visio divina”) and three musical selections (“audio divina”). One may employ all of these or, since we are in Year C of the liturgical cycle, read just the third comment and listen to the third musical selection].   

 Chapter 1 (First Sunday of Advent)

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
   every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’

Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Commentary

Revelation is the revealing of hidden mysteries when the intellect is enlightened by either divine dreams or by visions from divine enlightenment while awake, things which must shortly come to pass. This means that some of the prophecies concerning them are to happen then, and the things concerning the end are not to come until later on, because to God a thousand years is like a prior day, which is like having already happened. (Andreas of Caesarea)

The number seven signifies the perfection of the universal Church, for which reason the Apostle John writes to the seven churches, showing in that way that he writes to the totality of the one Church. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Christ's glorious second coming will not be pushed aside, nor secretly, as the first time when visited the world in the flesh. The prophet clearly told us beforehand about His first coming, saying, “He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth.(Ps. 71:6)” But the second coming will be visible so that every eye will see, even the sinful and ungodly, among whom must be those who drunkenly beat Him or pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him: Those are who continued on in disbelief and did not yield under His saving yoke. But the words because of him you shall understand to mean to His appearance and coming. And then to add to the assurance that this will happen he adds, Even so, Amen, as saying accurately and positively that these things will happen. (Oecumenius)

Musical Selections

Ego Sum Alpha et O, primus et novissimus, initium et finis, Qui ante mundi principium, in saeculum saeculi, vivo in eterno. Ego Sum vestra Redemptio, Ego Sum Rex vester, Ego vos resuscitabo in die novissimo. Videte... Alleluia.

I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, who before the foundation of the world and unto ages of ages live for ever. I am your redemption; I am your King; I shall raise you up on the last day, alleluia, alleluia.

 

Vidi septem candelabra aurea:
I saw seven golden lampstands.


Et in medio septem candelabrorum aureorum, similem Filio hominis.

And in the midst of the seven golden lampstands was one resembling the Son of man,

Et cum vidissem eum, cecidi ad pedes eius tamquam mortuus. Et posuit dexteram suam super me, dicens: Noli timere: ego sum primus, et novissimus,
And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet, like one who is dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 

Et vivus, et fui mortuus, et ecce sum vivens in sæcula sæculorum, et habeo claves mortis, et inferni.
And I am alive, though I was dead. And, behold, I live forever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and of Hell.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for favoured sinners slain; Thousand thousand saints attending, Swell the triumph of His train: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him Robed in dreadful majesty; Those who set at naught and sold Him, Pierced and nailed Him to the tree, Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, Shall the true Messiah see.

The dear tokens of His passion Still His dazzling body bears; Cause of endless exultation To His ransomed worshippers; With what rapture, with what rapture Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, amen; let all adore thee, High on thine eternal throne; Saviour, take the power and glory; Claim the kingdoms for thine own: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.

 

 

COLLECT

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

 

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