Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 15,1-8

And I saw in heaven another sign, great and wonderful: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God.

I seemed to be looking at a sea of crystal suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God,

and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and the hymn of the Lamb: How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God Almighty; upright and true are all your ways, King of nations.

Who does not revere and glorify your name, O Lord? For you alone are holy, and all nations will come and adore you for the many acts of saving justice you have shown.

After this, in my vision, the sanctuary, the tent of the Testimony, opened in heaven,

and out came the seven angels with the seven plagues, wearing pure white linen, fastened round their waists with belts of gold.

One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the anger of God who lives for ever and ever.

The smoke from the glory and the power of God filled the temple so that no one could go into it until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The last set of seven before the end now opens: we are at the end of time, and judgment is about to occur. The seven angels who blew the trumpets are now replaced by seven angels who each hold a cup. The apostle shows a glass sea beside which stand the witnesses of Christ, those who resisted the Beast. And, as the Hebrews did after crossing the Red Sea, they sing a hymn of praise to the Lord for his wonders; they do not sing their witness; they do not sing their own praises; they do not expect any privileges because of their works, as we are usually tempted to do. They praise, the "great and amazing...deeds" of God. It is the Lord, in fact, who strengthened them, protected them, and saved them. Now they stand before us and teach us how to act in front of God and how to direct our praises to Him. Their song is woven together from biblical citations, as if to remind us of how precious the Bible is as a resource for our prayer. At the end of their song, John sees the tent of witness open in heaven. According to the tradition of Israel, the tent was the place where God revealed himself to his people, a place of mercy and love, not a place of anger and punishment. Every one of our assemblies of prayer can become like the tent of witness and mercy. Within the tent stand seven angels dressed as priests in bright and shining linen. One of the four living creatures gives them seven bowls filled with the wrath of God. Prayer never goes without a response, even if it is sometimes difficult to understand.