The entire New Testament was written in Greek and the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, gets its name for the Greek word, apocalypse. There are also other books in the bible which are apocalyptic in nature. Usually these books were written at a time when God’s people were being persecuted to give hope to God’s people during those difficult times. The message reassured them that if they remained faithful to God, he would send a Messiah and their sufferings would be over. Their enemies would be defeated and there would be a new era of peace. This era of peace would referred to as God’s Kingdom or God’s reign.
Our first reading today, belongs to this apocalyptic literature. The Book of Daniel was written about 165 B. C. At this time in history, the Jewish people were being forced to adopt the pagan religion of the Greeks, the other alternative was persecution and death. These times were described as unsurpassed in distress. In our reading, from Daniel, the seer predicts that soon the Archangel Michael the guardian of the Jews, will come to their aid. This passage also contains a clear belief in the resurrection to glory for those who remain faithful and a resurrection to everlasting horror for those who do not remain faithful.
Today, as we have prayed the Prayer to St. Michael, our prayer is biblically based in history as the Archangel continues to fight on behalf of the new people of God as we find ourselves in battle against our pagan world and the wickedness and the traps of the devil. We are not fighting earthly beings, no we are fighting spiritual powers that are more powerful than we can ever imagine. When we were growing up could we have imagined the scope of evil even in our church. We grew up in a church that was triumphal. We were assured that the powers of hell would not prevail against it. We are living in turbulent times in and outside the church but Jesus has won the battle and He will come again in all his glory. As the book of Revelation states, the very last line of the Bible: Come, Lord Jesus! In today’s Gospel Jesus says: Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.
The Gospel encourages us to patient endurance and not to give into fear. Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Temple and this gospel was proclaimed to the people who were experiencing the loss of the center of worship and the fall of Jerusalem and greater persecution as Christian believers. The coming of the Son of Man an apocryphal figure in the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus as he calls himself the Son of Man for he has been given all authority by God his Father.
For us in light of the financial and spiritual reports that have been presented to you, is too keep keeping on and to be good stewards of your time, talent and treasure to build up the kingdom of God sometime under difficult circumstances. We do this by uniting ourselves to the one eternal sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.
In a few minutes, the Son of Man, will come to us under the appearance of bread and wine which become his Body and Blood. Let us always be prepared to meet him by our sacrificial giving and our trust that the victory has been won for us.