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Liturgical day: Saturday 34th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rev 22,1-7): John said: An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street; on either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. And he said to me, «These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon». «Behold, I am coming soon». Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.
Responsorial Psalm: 94
R/. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods. In his hands are the depths of the earth, and the tops of the mountains are his. His is the sea, for he has made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 21,36): Alleluia. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 21,34-36): Jesus said to his disciples, «Be on your guard; let not your hearts be weighed down with a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares, lest that day catch you suddenly as a trap. For it will come upon all the inhabitants of the whole earth. But watch at all times and pray, that you may be able to escape all that is bound to happen and to stand before the Son of Man».

«Watch at all times and pray»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, last day of the Ordinary Time, Jesus clearly warns us about the fate of our pass through life. Should we stubbornly insist on living imbued by the immediacy of our worldly cares, the last day of our earthly existence will come upon us so suddenly that the very blindness of our own greediness will prevent us from recognizing God himself, who will come (do you remember we are just passers-by around here?) to take us towards the divine intimacy of His Infinite Love. Something like what happens to a spoiled child: he is so entertained by “his” toys, that he ends up by forgetting his parents' tenderness and his friends' company. And when he finally realizes what he has done, he disconsolately wails because of his unexpected loneliness.

The antidote Jesus offers us is equally clear: «Watch, therefore, at all times and pray» (Lk 21:36). To watch and to pray... The same advise He gave his apostles the night He was betrayed. The prayer has an admirable prophecy component, often forgotten when preaching, that is, to switch from the mere “seeing” to “watching” the quotidian in its deepest and crudest reality. As Evagrius Ponticus wrote, «Just as sight is the most worthy of the senses, so also is prayer the most divine of the virtues». The classics of spirituality name it “supernatural vision”, i.e. to look through God's eyes. Or what amounts to the same, to know the Truth: about God, about the world, about oneself. The prophets were not only those who “preceded what was about to happen”, but also those who knew how to interpret their present time in its just measurement, scope and density. The end result: they knew, with God's help, how to redress history.

So often we complaint about our world situation. —Where shall all this lead us to? Today, is the last day of the Ordinary Time, it is also a day of definite resolutions. Maybe it is about time that someone may make up his mind and give up his present drunkenness while starting to work for a better future. —Would you like this someone to be you? Then, cheer up! And may God bless you!