IV Sunday of Easter
May 12, 2019


Today's second reading from the Book of Revelation leads me to reflect on situations in life where crowds gather. Consider, for example, the events that take place in the city of Chicago and its surroundings: musical or sporting events. A few years ago, I attended a concert at the Allstate Arena. More than 10,000 people gathered to enjoy the performance. The experience was amazing; there was an atmosphere of joy. Everyone present enjoyed the music and the company.

When I had just arrived in the City of Chicago, a family invited me to attend a football game at Soldier Field. I marveled at the structure and size of the audience that had assembled to enjoy the event.

Imagine being present at the Olympic Games. The world's best athletes come together and compete. Men and women from all over the world, speaking many different languages, representing many different races and nationalities, participate in various contests. It would be amazing. I would love to be there.

Concerts and sporting events are not the only activities that attract crowds. The same happens with demonstrations, such as the famous yellow vests in France who organized to protest against the rise in gas prices, to recover public services--especially in the peripheries of France, and to recover lost purchasing power. The main characteristic of the crowds in the four previous examples is that the people share a common goal, whether it be to enjoy or to protest a just cause.

John, in today's second reading, recounts for us another gathering. John had a vision in which he gazed at a crowd so big that nobody could count it. The crowd included people of all nations, races, and languages. All remained standing before the throne and the Lamb; they were dressed in a white tunic and held palms in their hands.

We know that one of the reasons John wrote the Book of Revelation was to strengthen the faith of the first Christians. In particular, John addressed those in tribulation because of their faith in the Lamb who was slaughtered. The ones who remained faithful to Jesus through the tribulations would have the honor and joy of standing before the throne of God. They would serve him day and night in his temple, and the One who sits on the throne would protect them.

Brothers and sisters, every year on November 1st, the Church invites us to celebrate a day in honor of all the Saints. This solemnity unites us visually with the whole multitude of the redeemed over the ages. The celebration encourages us, as pilgrims in this world, to discover the destiny that awaits us at the end of our earthly journey. Truly, John's vision makes us aware of our solidarity with all who have preceded us into eternal life. All of them, who now dwell in the presence of God, intercede for us and give impetus to our life of faith.Dear friends, today we keep in our prayers the Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. And perhaps it would be good to reread and meditate upon with the text we just heard, especially during times of trial or difficulty, so that our strength of body, mind, and spirit may be renewed and increased.

~Fr. Sergio Mena, Pastor


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