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 18,1-2.21-23; 19,1-3.9

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. Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, 'That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again. Never again in you will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels, the music of flute and trumpet; never again will craftsmen of every skill be found in you or the sound of the handmill be heard; never again will shine the light of the lamp in you, never again will be heard in you the voices of bridegroom and bride. Your traders were the princes of the earth, all the nations were led astray by your sorcery. After this I heard what seemed to be the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, 'Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her prostitution; he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed.' And again they sang, 'Alleluia! The smoke of her will rise for ever and ever.' The angel said, 'Write this, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb," ' and he added, 'These words of God are true.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John make those who favoured and benefited from the splendour of the city and who allowed themselves to be contaminated by its vices describe the fall of Babylon, the name by which Christians called Rome,. There are three categories of people: kings, merchants and shipmasters, in practice the political, economic and commercial power that had its source, its nourishment and its outlet in the great metropolis. It is an effective image of how much the cult of money can corrupt the very life of cities. And if we think of contemporary megacities, we can see the dramatic injustices that tear those who live in them apart. And we see the distance between the few rich growing ever richer and the masses of the poor growing ever poorer. John shows us the severity of God's judgement for the corrupters, while his heart is moved by the oppressed and the righteous. An external voice enters the scene and speaks to the just and the victims of the oppressive power: they watch the divine judgment with joy because for them a nightmare is ending and a new horizon of light and peace is beginning. By condemning evil, God does justice to good. The judgment of sinners is but one face of a coin whose other side bears the glory of the "saints and apostles and prophets" - the men and women of God - and the triumph of truth and justice. A powerful angel symbolically enacts the end of imperial Babylon by hurling a millstone into the sea. If we do not break the bonds that tie us to evil, we run the risk of being caught in its snares and sharing its fate, which is death. The last look at Babylon reveals a panorama of extreme desolation. The city that was once prosperous and lively is now devoid of life.