Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 14,1-3.4-5

Next in my vision I saw Mount Zion, and standing on it the Lamb who had with him a hundred and forty-four thousand people, all with his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound of the ocean or the roar of thunder; it was like the sound of harpists playing their harps. There before the throne they were singing a new hymn in the presence of the four living creatures and the elders, a hymn that could be learnt only by the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the world. These are the sons who have kept their virginity and not been defiled with women; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they, out of all people, have been redeemed to be the first-fruits for God and for the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths and no fault can be found in them.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the visions of the two Beasts, John sees a third: the Lamb of Christ rising on Mount Zion, returning in fullness. We already know that the Lamb symbolically signifies meekness and the destiny of the Paschal sacrifice. It is therefore an appropriate sign for Christ, for his death on the cross (sacrificed), but also his Paschal glory. The lamb is, in fact, described "on foot" on the temple mount: standing straight up is a sign of victory and glory. Zion becomes the point of convergence for the entire community saved by the blood of the Lamb. Rising on the slope of this hill is the procession of the elect, the righteous, the martyrs. The opposition with the previous procession of the Beast's followers is evident: they have the mark of slavery and violence on them, while the others carry the sign of God and Christ. No matter how much evil is employed against the believers, no one can tear them from the hand of God. More than represent the community which has reached heaven, the one hundred and forty four thousand represent the believers who are still exposed to Enemy's attacks. They are Christians who are faithful to the Gospel and who persevere in following the Lord "wherever he goes," to death, to martyrdom. They are the "redeemed from the earth," therefore the property and possession of the Lord: "for they are virgins" that is, not contaminated by the idols of this word (fornication is always the symbol of idolatry). The apostle continues: "they have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb." They will not be abandoned to the blind destiny of the world; on their foreheads will be the mark of God's name and the Lamb-not the mark of the Beast. They and only they can comprehend the song which comes down from heaven (it is the communion of God and the saints) and unite themselves to the praise for the Lord.