34th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

A recurring expression in St. John Paul II’s encyclicals is that of “structures of sin”: from people’s sins an entire commerce and social structure of sin is constructed that propagates more evil and sin. In describing Babylon fallen in today’s First Reading John is envisioning one day when sin and evil “go out of business.” Not only will the demand dry up, but the supply as well. Babylon becomes a desolate and deserted city that attracts no one and no longer provides “markets” for the vendors of iniquity. There’ll be no more trafficking of someone or something, and the glamour of evil, against which we promised to be the day of our baptism, will be revealed for what it is, degraded, demeaning, and worthless for the supplier as well as the consumer.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm, taken from the First Reading, is “Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” When the bishop or priest in Mass holds up the Eucharist he says these same words as we look upon Christ in the Eucharist, the Lamb who has ensured that one day evil will never menace us or tempt us again. We too should rejoice in the little victories over sin and evil today, but especially persevere in hope as we continue to wage the good fight.

Evil today may be glamorous, even fashionable, but in faith we’re not buying, confident that others will bankrupt the commerce of of sin as well.

Readings: Revelation 18:1–2, 21–23, 19:1–3, 9a; Psalm 100:1b–5; Luke 21:20–28. See also 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday and 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.