22 November. Thursday of Week Thirty Three
Rev 5:1ff. The Lamb who was slain opens the seals of the Book of Life.
Lk 19:41ff. Jesus weeps over the destruction of Jerusalem.
Tested in Fire
John, caught up in ecstasy on the island of Patmos, was sad that no one could open the scroll with the seven seals, and at the appearance of Jesus, bearing the wounds of his passion. Throughout the Book of Revelation Jesus is the “Lamb that was slain”, but also the triumphant one who leads his sheep to eternal life. He is the one worthy to open the scroll.. “for you were slain, and by your blood you purchased for God people of every race and tongue.. You made of them a kingdom, and priests to serve our God.”
How were we purchased? Not in the crass sense of a price paid to God, but because Jesus united himself so intimately with human flesh and blood that he became totally immersed in us – and we in him. His love and obedience, his death and resurrection became our family treasure, our inheritance. All God’s children were forgiven in him, for the Father saw us as intimately bonded with our elder brother, Jesus.
Only the Lamb who had been slain can open the scroll with the seven seals. Jesus has experienced to the fullest extent the trials and joys, the collapses and triumphs of our human existence. He alone knows their secret core, and can direct their development and lead us into the vision of heavenly joy. Through him, we all become “priests to serve our God,” that is, to turn each human experience into one of worship in God’s presence.
First Reading:Revelation 5:1-10
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
They sing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”
Gospel: Luke 19:41-44
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”