Advent with the Apocalypse (Ch 22, Dec 24)
December 24, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 22 (Fourth Sunday of Advent)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.


The recurring theme of healing and restoration is rooted in the atonement rites, when the earth was cleansed and healed at the start of the year. In the Book of Revelation this is the Great Atonement of the Sabbath year and Jubilee, when debt was remitted, slaves were released and land returned to its true owners. With the messianic age of Christ and his holy ones, the whole creation expected this release and renewal.
The predictions of the Day in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the teaching of Jesus show how the picture of the millennium kingdom in the Book of Revelation had developed. It was the Day of the LORD when he became King over the whole land/earth, and his Day was known to be a thousand years. It was a time for judgement on enemies and for the restoration of Eden-like prosperity and fertility for the land of his Chosen Ones. It was a return to Day One, to the eternal/resurrected life of the holy of holies, and so the millennium kingdom enjoyed the cosmic light of the divine presence. Wisdom/Spirit flowed again, eyes were opened, and the entire city was as holy as the temple itself.
A comparison of 22.6 and 1.1 suggests that the one sent to show what must soon take place was, in each case, Jesus. 'The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place' (1.1), and 'The LORD ... has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place' (22.6) implies that the angel of the LORD was Jesus, in other words, Jesus was the LORD made visible on earth. He appears in the Book of Revelation as the Mighty Angel.
'Come LORD Jesus' (22.20) has also been preserved in its original Aramaic 'Maranatha' (1 Cor. 16.22), followed in both cases by: ‘The grace of the LORD Jesus be with you/all the saints'. This was the prayer of first-generation Christians looking for the Day of the LORD, and then the customary ending for a Christian letter (2 Cor. 13.14; Gal. 6.18; Eph. 6.24, etc.). After John had learned that the second coming would not be an event in the near future, the LORD returned to his people in the Eucharist.


Musical Selection 


Here in our midst, O God of mystery,
you disclose the secret hidden for countless ages.
For you we wait, for you we listen.
Upon hearing your voice
may we, like Mary, embrace your will
and become a dwelling fit for your Word.
Grant 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.