These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; anyone who wants to harm them must be killed in this manner. They have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up
from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill
and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that is prophetically called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
For three and a half days members of the peoples and tribes and
languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let
them be placed in a tomb;
and the inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and
exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to the
inhabitants of the earth.
But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and those who saw them were terrified.
heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here!’ And they
went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watched them.
(Revelation 11: 4-12)
Today let's ponder the words of the Book of Revelation. If we are to be the
“Light of the World”, we must expect to be persecuted. Ours is a God of
risks. Remember, the Author of Life Himself was crucified. However,
death could not hold Him captive. Similarly, the witnesses of Revelation
were raised up and taken into their Heavenly Homeland.
olive trees and two lampstands brings to mind how Jesus sent out the
disciples “two by two and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits”
(Mk. 6:7). Living a gospel life requires the help and support of a
brother, of a sister. We cannot live the Gospel in isolation. We need
one another. That being said, while we are called to be one in Christ,
we are not called to look nor to act identically. The strength of the
Church is in its diversity of gifts. The two witnesses testified to the
paschal victory of Christ, sealing their testimony with their deaths.
If we listen to Pope Francis, we hear him saying that Christians are
called to bear witness to the work of God in the world. As witnesses of
Christ, we are raised up to speak against the neglect of human dignity
and to defend the truth. As witnesses of Christ we are commissioned to
speak against indifference to the poor and abuse of the earth, our
common Mother. As witnesses of Christ, we are challenged to be burning
and shining lights in a world that is wrapped in darkness. In Christ’s
faithful witnesses is found the manifestation of God’s love and mercy
for the world. God’s witnesses must not grow weary of giving service nor
should they flee suffering. In their weakness, they manifest God’s
strength. In their apparent defeat, they testify to God’s ultimate
God has not given us the spirit of timidity or fear.
Rather, He has poured into our hearts the Spirit of power, courage and
endurance so as to meet the challenges that confront us. With the help
of the Spirit we will be able to bear afflictions so as to proclaim the
Glory of Grace. It is in Him that we live, and move and have our being.
When He comes to reveal Himself as the One Who conquered death, may He
bring us all together into everlasting life.
--Father Jerome Machar, OSCO