Hollywood makes a lot of money on end-of-the-world movies, but why don’t they make an end-of-the-end-of-the-world story? Today’s second reading from Revelations is very cinematic, and the ultimate feel-good scenario. “The great distress” is over and the multitude of survivors that God rescued are rejoicing, honoring Him and enjoying a feeling of security they’ve never known. You could almost hear them shouting praise and applauding their savior.
You can bet a movie with a similar scene will be made very soon. Hollywood likes dramatic news stories and this week’s Boston Marathon bombing was certainly that. Tragedy followed by a chase followed by gunfights followed by victory of the good guys. But there was something different about the conclusion of this news story. Instead of focusing on the bloody perpetrator who had everyone hiding behind locked doors until his capture, all the news cameras were focused on Boston’s citizens, applauding the rescuers who freed them from captivity and fear. The news showed a parade of rescue vehicles leaving the crime scene after their work was done and a multitude of people of every race cheering their rescuers while wiping away tears. Turn the clock back a couple thousand years and this wouldn’t be much different from the setting John described in Revelations. The only thing missing in Boston was God on his throne.
But God wasn’t missing in Boston. His kingdom was in the heart of every brave citizen who ran toward the site of the explosions on Marathon day to help the victims. He was also in the prayers of the faithful around the world who appealed to God to help those in pain. And he was in those rescue vehicles being applauded and cheered as they drove away from the crime scene.
Today’s readings remind us that we are all sheep, hungering and thirsting for God’s salvation. Today’s news reminds us we can also be instruments of God’s salvation for one another. We don’t have to wait until the end of the world to witness it.