Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memory of Saint Leo the Great, bishop of Rome, who led the Church through difficult times.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 14,6-20

Then I saw another angel, flying high overhead, sent to announce the gospel of eternity to all who live on the earth, every nation, race, language and tribe.

He was calling, 'Fear God and glorify him, because the time has come for him to sit in judgement; worship the maker of heaven and earth and sea and the springs of water.'

A second angel followed him, calling, 'Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, Babylon which gave the whole world the wine of retribution to drink.'

A third angel followed, shouting aloud, 'All those who worship the beast and his statue, or have had themselves branded on the hand or forehead,

will be made to drink the wine of God's fury which is ready, undiluted, in his cup of retribution; in fire and brimstone they will be tortured in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb

and the smoke of their torture will rise for ever and ever. There will be no respite, night or day, for those who worship the beast or its statue or accept branding with its name.'

This is why there must be perseverance in the saints who keep the commandments of God and faith in Jesus.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say to me, 'Write down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord! Blessed indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work, since their good deeds go with them.'

Now in my vision I saw a white cloud and, sitting on it, one like a son of man with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

Then another angel came out of the sanctuary and shouted at the top of his voice to the one sitting on the cloud, 'Ply your sickle and reap: harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.'

Then the one sitting on the cloud set his sickle to work on the earth, and the harvest of earth was reaped.

Another angel, who also carried a sharp sickle, came out of the temple in heaven,

and the angel in charge of the fire left the altar and shouted at the top of his voice to the one with the sharp sickle, 'Put your sickle in, and harvest the bunches from the vine of the earth; all its grapes are ripe.'

So the angel set his sickle to work on the earth and harvested the whole vintage of the earth and put it into a huge winepress, the winepress of God's anger,

outside the city, where it was trodden until the blood that came out of the winepress was up to the horses' bridles as far away as sixteen hundred furlongs.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John beholds a new scene: six angels with Christ at their centre, with a crown on his head and a sickle in his hand: he is the Lord and Judge of history. Universal judgment is being announced and prepared. The prophet Joel had already described the "day of the Lord" in the Valley of Decision: "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, or their wickedness is great" (3:13). And on several occasions Jesus himself spoke in terms of vintage and harvest. The first angel warns that judgment his near. He carries "an eternal gospel." It is not the "little scroll" reserved for the disciples, but the announcement of God’s primacy and his love for the lives of men and women: "Fear God and give him glory!" We can translate: "whoever lets him or herself be guided by love will be saved." That is what we read in the last judgment reported by Matthew in chapter 25. The "eternal gospel" is the universal Gospel of love, to which we can join the second beatitude that the apostle places in the book of Revelation: "Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord" because to them is the kingdom of heaven given. Human history is not just a senseless succession of events nor is it a journey without light. History is born of God’s love and in God’s love it finds its purpose. Everything else - everything that does not come from God, everything that is not love - is harvested, cut with the sickle and burned - starting with Babylon, the prostitute-city. She is in fact thrown down, and all those who let themselves be seduced by the Beast will be torn to pieces in torment. But Christ, whose blood was shed outside of the city, becomes a source of salvation for those who welcome him.