Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Muslims celebrate the Feast of sacrifice (Aid-al-Adha)

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 18,1-8

After this, I saw another angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth shone with his glory.

At the top of his voice he shouted, 'Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.

All the nations have drunk deep of the wine of her prostitution; every king on the earth has prostituted himself with her, and every merchant grown rich through her debauchery.'

Another voice spoke from heaven; I heard it say, 'Come out, my people, away from her, so that you do not share in her crimes and have the same plagues to bear.

Her sins have reached up to the sky, and God has her crimes in mind: treat her as she has treated others.

She must be paid double the amount she exacted. She is to have a doubly strong cup of her own mixture.

Every one of her pomps and orgies is to be matched by a torture or an agony. I am enthroned as queen, she thinks; I am no widow and will never know bereavement.

For that, in one day, the plagues will fall on her: disease and mourning and famine. She will be burned to the ground. The Lord God who has condemned her is mighty.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John sees another angel come down from heaven to announce the end of Babylon: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!" The reasons for her fall are stated clearly: "It has become a dwelling-place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast." Babylon’s sin was the sin of pride; she had defied God. The prophet Isaiah reports these words spoken by the king of Babylon: "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God!" (Is 14:13). Babylon has become convinced of its strength and its position: "I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief" (v. 7). But Isaiah’s lament over Babylon comes to mind: "‘I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children" (47:8). We can link other passages from the Gospel to this one, like the story of the rich man who feasts lavishly and the one of the rich man who stores up his possessions until he needs bigger barns, all the while ignoring the poor Lazarus and all those who need help. Ruin comes suddenly and brings devastation. John describes the destruction with a series of images woven together from political and commercial threads. They reveal the depths of evil and the incredible number of complicit people it involves. Faced with this kind of perversion, believers are urged to leave the city. This does not primarily mean the physical abandonment of the city as much as the abandonment of its culture, its methods, its flattery, its violence, and its pride. "Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities’" (v. 4-5). Jesus’ disciples know well that they are not of this world, even if they share in its hopes and its anguish. The voice that comes from the throne urges the believers to punish the wicked city according to the law of talion (an eye for an eye, etc.) - "repay her double for her deeds" - and to make her drink a "double draught" of poison (v. 6-7). This is an affirmation of believers’ participation in God’s judgment, as Jeremiah also commanded concerning Babylon: "For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her, do to her as she has done...Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do to her" (50:15, 29). John seems to be implicitly repeating to imperial Babylon Ezekiel’s warning to the prince of Tyre: "Will you still say, ‘I am a god’, in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a mortal, and no god, in the hands of those who wound you?" (Ez 28:9). Four plagues now strike Babylon: pestilence, mourning, famine, and fire (v. 8). Death awaits Babylon, and the bereavement that will leave her a widow, abandoned by her inhabitants. God does not remain indifferent to the blasphemous provocation of prideful and violent power. This is why believers should never be complicit with the violence and injustice that are practiced in the city. They are always called to be places of peace, mercy, and love.