Daily Readings

The daily readings for the Eucharistic celebrations.

Fathers

The Fathers of the Church and their explanations of the readings of the day.

History

Historical books of the Old Testament

The Sunday Lectionary

Sermon and homily notes for Sundays

Video

Videos mostly from YouTube

Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

The True Center of Power

Submitted by on Wednesday, 19 November 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Revelation 4:1-11
  • Resp. Psalm:  Psalm 150:1-2,5-6
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 19:11-28

menorah-16020m

Revelation 4:1-11 opens up the series of visions that are intended for the seven churches which have been admonished and exhorted to repentance. The purpose of this section is to describe the setting for the event that immediately follows in chapter 5, the consignment of the scroll of human history to the Lamb. The vision is literally "out of this world". John is caught up in (can also be the Hebrew "by") spirit and was brought to heaven, the dwelling place of God. There, John sees the place from which all the succeeding series of events will be directed: the throne and the one who occupies it, the twenty-four elders around the throne, the seven spirit of God (which he sees as lighted torches), the four unearthly creatures that carried God around in the visions of Ezekiel, the sea of crystal in front of the throne.

The center of the place John describes is the throne and around it all the others are arranged in ever widening concentric circles. On the throne was one who shone with brilliant light, surrounded by a halo that the evangelist can only describe in terms of the sparkle of gems. The activities described from verse 8 to the end of the chapter will be directed towards the occupant of the throne. He is the three-fold Holy One (v. 8) whom the four beasts and the twenty-four elders worship and adore.

The twenty-four elders that surround the throne have crowns that they throw in front of the throne’s occupant as a sign of subjection. They themselves sit on thrones symbol of their status as co-rulers. The number 24 — for the original audience of John — would have evoked 12+12: 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles. The Spirit of God is seen as seven standing flames. I wouldn’t be surprised if one sees in this the Spirit in its seven gifts. The seven flames actually reminds one of the Jewish menorah lighted in honor of the Temple that the Maccabbees rededicated. The menorah also reminds one of the oil lamp that was never consumed during the event of the rededication. But the symbolism goes back even further than the first Hannukah, to Moses and the Burning Bush. In the description of the seven spirits then, something "Jewish" is evoked: Temple, oil, light, holiness, revelation and Divine Presence. Put into a Christian key, we have the one who makes Christians the Temple of God, making them Holy, anointing them (oil) and making them receive the Light, the one who guides them "to all Truth". The flames also remind one of the descent of the Spirit on the apostles during Pentecost. The "seven spirits" is the one Spirit seen seven-fold.

The mention of "lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder" coming from the throne reminds one of the revelation at Sinai. Here, there is a conscious literary emphasis on the continuation with the Sinai event. As Sinai was for the writer(s) of Exodus a symbol of the freedom to which the sons of Israel have been lead into, so here, the opening scene of the Apocalypse announces the process of liberation that will be fulfilled stage by stage throughout the visions of John: the old cosmos will be dismantled until the new heavens and the new earth appear, freed from anything that is "old".

This is the setting; what happens next is a heavenly liturgy that gives the meaning to all the subsequent episodes in John’s consoling book of Revelation.

Revelation 4:1-11
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must be done hereafter.
2And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.
3And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold.
5And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
6And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.
7And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.
8And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.
9And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever;
10The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.
Psalm 150:1-2,5-6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
2Praise ye him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
5Praise him on high sounding cymbals: praise him on cymbals of joy: let every spirit praise the Lord. Alleluia.
Luke 19:11-28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
11As they were hearing these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately be manifested.
12He said therefore: A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13And calling his ten servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them: Trade till I come.
14But his citizens hated him: and they sent an embassage after him, saying: We will not have this man to reign over us.
15And it came to pass, that he returned, having received the kingdom: and he commanded his servants to be called, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16And the first came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17And he said to him: Well done, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a little, thou shalt have power over ten cities.
18And the second came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19And he said to him: Be thou also over five cities.
20And another came, saying: Lord, behold here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin;
21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up what thou didst not lay down, and thou reapest that which thou didst not sow.
22He saith to him: Out of thy own mouth I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up what I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow:
23And why then didst thou not give my money into the bank, that at my coming, I might have exacted it with usury?
24And he said to them that stood by: Take the pound away from him, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25And they said to him: Lord, he hath ten pounds.
26But I say to you, that to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: and from him that hath not, even that which he hath, shall be taken from him.
27But as for those my enemies, who would not have me reign over them, bring them hither, and kill them before me.
28And having said these things, he went before, going up to Jerusalem.
Revelation 4:1-11
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must be done hereafter.
2And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.
3And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold.
5And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
6And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.
7And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.
8And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.
9And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever;
10The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Leave your response!

You must be logged in to post a comment.