Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 20:1-4.11-21.2; Luke 21:29-33)
Apocalypse is the Greek word for revelation. For this reason the last book of the Bible, from which we take today’s first reading, is alternatively called the Apocalypse or the Book of Revelation. Apocalyptic literature, however, of which the Book of Revelation is the Bible’s only full example, has a meaning beyond revelatory. It further refers to the cosmic struggle between God and the powers of darkness. This metaphoric war will lead to the transformation of the world into the heavenly Kingdom. Today’s first reading gives an account of the struggle and the coming Kingdom characterized by “a new heaven” and “a new earth.”
Since the destiny of the present world is transformation and renewal, some have questioned the value of working for a better world. They see the aim of every human to be avoiding evil to save her soul. The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World of the Second Vatican Council, however, declares: “…the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one.” In working for a better world, humans show themselves as true disciples of Jesus. He came as the inaugurator of God’s Kingdom and will come again ushering its fullness.
As we close the liturgical year with references to the coming Kingdom in both readings, we should renew our efforts to see it happen. This means not retreating in self-defense but moving forward to the margins of society. There we are to offer a hand of support to the poor. The Kingdom is God’s doing and will be realized when Christ comes in glory. But our efforts spur the hope that it will not be long in arriving.