Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bless The LORD, All You Angels, You Ministers Who Do His Will

First Reading
Revelation 12:7-12

There was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and its angels fought back. But the dragon was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent that from the beginning has led people into sin (Genesis 3:1-7) – was thrown down to earth, and its angels as well.

Then John heard a loud voice from heaven say: “Now salvation and power have come, the Kingdom of our God, and of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who testifies against them day and night before God, has been cast out. He has been vanquished by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. For love of life did not cause them to shrink from death. Therefore, let the heavens rejoice, and all who dwell in them!

John 1:47-51

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said about him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile.” Jesus had never met Nathanael, but he knew him. He knew that he was a faithful worshipper of the LORD, and he knew that there was nothing two-faced about him.

Nathanael was taken aback. “How do you know me?” he asked. Jesus answered, “While you were still under the fig tree, before Philip called you, I saw you.” Fig trees are very leafy, and provide good shade. It was common in the Holy Land for people to sit in the shade of the fig tree to rest, to pray, and to read the scriptures. Nathanael was surprised that Jesus knew what he was doing before Philip was called him. It persuaded Nathanael that Jesus was the Son of God and the King of Israel. Jesus told him that he would see much greater things. In fact, all of the disciples of Jesus would see greater things.

Then he said to Nathanael, “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

This may be a reference to Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28:12), in which Jacob saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and angels going up and down the ladder. Jesus is like Jacob’s latter, because he connects people to God. He does this by offering himself as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of his brothers and sisters. By his death on the cross, Jesus would heal the relationship between the God and his people. Jesus calls himself the Son of Man. This reminds us that Jesus is God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, but at the same time, he is the Son of Mary, sharing human nature with her, with me, and with you.

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