Advent with the Apocalypse (Ch 15, Dec 17)
December 17, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 15 (Third Sunday of Advent)

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

The seer stood in the great hall of the heavenly temple and described what he saw and heard….Those who stood on the crystal sea and worshipped before the throne in the heavenly temple had ascended to heaven (15.2-4). They were worthy and pure and had been given the seal of the Name to protect them from the wrath of God (7.3). Among them were those who had recently died during the siege of the city and the seer, in his vision, was able to see them safe in heaven. Once they had been gathered, their number was complete (cf. 6.9-11), and the wrath of the judgement could begin.
The redeemed in heaven sang the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb. There are two Songs of Moses in the Hebrew Scriptures: Exodus 15.1-18 and Deuteronomy 32.1-43. The former was sung by Moses and the people of Israel after they had passed through the Red Sea (Exod. 15.1), the latter by Moses and Joshua.
What follows must have been a description of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the plagues, though resembling the plagues on Egypt because this was another deliverance for those protected by the blood of the Lamb (Exod. 12.13), were in fact descriptions of life in the city during the siege of Jerusalem.
Musical Selection

All nations will draw near and fall down before you because your just and holy works have been revealed.

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *

O King of all the ages
Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name
for you only are the Holy One.

All nations will draw near and fall down before you
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. (Joe Cox)

All nations will draw near and fall down before you because your just and holy works have been revealed.

O God, most high and most near,
you send glad tidings to the lowly,
you hide not your face from the poor;
those who dwell in darkness you call into the light.
Take away our blindness,
remove the hardness of our hearts,
and form us into a humble people,
that, at the advent of your Son,
we may recognise him in our midst
and find joy in his saving presence.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.