Advent with the Apocalypse (Ch 6; Dec 8)
December 08, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Revelation Ch 6 (Friday of the First Week of Advent)

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”


As the Lamb opens the seals, so the future fate of Jerusalem is revealed….With the fifth seal, the seer sees the souls of the martyrs under the altar and with the sixth, he sees the Day of the LORD: the sun darkened, the moon red, stars falling from the sky and the mountains and islands Moving….It has often been observed that this sequence of woes is exactly like that predicted by Jesus as he sat on the Mount of Olives a few days before his death.
Since the soul was believed to be in the blood, the vision of the fifth seal was a vision of blood under the altar. On the Day of Atonement, the blood which remained after the ritual sprinkling was poured away under the great altar, and in the vision, this blood has become the souls of the martyrs whose death has been part of the final Day of Atonement….Once the number of martyrs was completed, the judgement could begin.
The sixth seal brought the Day of the LORD, a time of supernatural catastrophes. The four horsemen had brought disasters on a human scale: war, famine and death, but the vision of the sixth seal was a time of cosmic upheaval: falling stars, vanishing skies and moving Mountains….The vision of the sixth seal has been extended to the whole of chapter 7 since these were the last events before the LORD returned.

Musical Selection (Giacomo Carissimi)

Tunc, horribili sonitu, tubae clangentes vocabunt
gentes, et a sepulcris excitabunt angeli.
Vocis fragore, tubae clangore, mugiet terra,
resonabunt aethera.
Surgite mortui, venite ad judicium.
Then, with a dreadful sound, the blowing of the
trumpets shall call together the peoples, and the
angels shall raise them up from their graves.
And the earth shall bellow, and heaven sound
again with the clamour of the voices, and the
blowing of the trumpets.
Arise, ye dead, come to your judgment.
Stir up your power, Lord Jesus, and come.
Protect us from the menace of our sins,
release us from their grasp,
save us and set us free,
you who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.