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Sea of Red (or Lift the Veil and See)

The life of a priest is rarely uneventful. Something will arise in the course of a day that will be different than the last, and Sundays are a bit busier for us than most.

Sunday October 26 the Archdiocese celebrated World Youth Day, which is a diocesan wide youth event put on by the diocesan youth ministry office. Two thousand teens from the greater New Orleans area converged on the Ernest Morial Convention Center (the same place where the New Orleans ComiCon is held).

Like such events there was a keynote, which I missed because I had the morning masses in the parish. In the early afternoon, there were over twenty break-out sessions varying from theological to spiritual to quirky (How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, which of course was given by a Daughter of St. Paul).

The day ended with mass celebrated by the Archbishop. Here is where my story lies. While I was concelebrating I couldn’t help but look up to a two thousand strong congregation of teenagers dressed in the red t-shirt they received as part of the day. I looked out to see a sea of read, and I was struck by the power of that image. 

My thoughts were immediately draw to the martyrs in the book of Revelation. “After this I looked, ad behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb … These are they who come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Before me was the church militant imaging, in a scene of hope, the church triumphant (earth revealing heaven). I was immediately overwhelmed by the presence of the saints in the room with us worshipping the Lamb slain on the altar before me. We were all oriented toward the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The veil between this world and the next is surprisingly thin in the sacrifice of the mass because the sacrifice is itself heavenly worship. We often veil our own eyes due to a weak faith, but let the Lord pull back the shades and let the light of eternal glory shine through. Who knows what we will see!