Today’s first reading from the book of Revelation talks about Jesus in a very different way from what we are used to. When we think of Jesus, we think of a man, a teacher, someone who talks to us about God. When we use our faith to think about Jesus, we remember that He isn’t just a regular human being, we open the eyes of our heart to see him with spiritual vision: Jesus is God, He is divine, He is eternal. That isn’t something we know because it is obvious, it is something we know because we use our faith, because we believe. If we believe that Jesus is God, it makes everything He says and does very powerful for us, and it changes how important His words and actions are for us. You can think about how wonderful it is when you have a special family dinner together like at Thanksgiving. Jesus used to have special dinners together with His disciples. Imagine what it would be like to have a special guest at your family dinner, imagine what it would be like to have Jesus at dinner, what it would be like to have God at dinner with your family. Jesus came to show us that God is not far away from our normal lives: Jesus brings God into the everyday lives of the people He created and loves.
We hear about a special scroll in today’s first reading. Written on the front and on the back, held in the right hand of the one seated on the throne, this is a very special message. This scroll is Jesus: He is at God’s right hand, and he is a message for us from God. He is written on the outside and on the inside: there is a message for those who are only His acquaintances, and a message for those who get to know Him as a friend. His message is sealed with seven seals – those seals must be broken to get to the heart of what Jesus wants us to know. Jesus breaks through the last of those seals when His body is broken on the Cross and He makes the eternal love and mercy of God known to us. Let us get closer to Him so we can hear what He wants to tell us.
And what book does John see, which has writing on the front and back and is sealed? Which book could no one read and loose its seals, except the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David who has the key of David, and who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one will open? For the whole Scripture is what is revealed by the book that has writing on the front because its interpretation is easy, and on the back because it is hidden and spiritual.1
APRINGIUS OF BEJA:
The book is said to be sealed by seven seals, so that the decree and limit of the present seven days, in which the world was made, might be manifested. Another interpretation: This book signifies the teaching of the Old Testament, which was given into the hands of our Lord, who accepted the judgment from the Father. The seven seals are these: First, incarnation; second, birth; third, passion; fourth, death; fifth, resurrection; sixth, glory; seventh, kingdom. These seals, therefore, are Christ. Since he completed all things through his humanity, he opened and unsealed everything which had been closed and sealed in the Scriptures.2
The book is in the right hand because it is in Christ, for he is the arm of God, he is the right hand of the Father, or it means that it was in the highest blessedness. The book written on the inside and the outside is both Testaments, the Old Testament on the outside because it was visible, and the New Testament on the inside because it lay hidden within the Old.3
CAESARIUS OF ARLES:
“Sealed,” it says, “by seven seals.” This means that the book was obscured by the plenitude of all mysteries, since until the passion and resurrection of Christ it had remained sealed. For in no way is anything called a “testament,” unless those who are about to die make it, and it is sealed until the death of the testator, and after his death, it is opened. And so, after the death of Christ every mystery was revealed.4
When our Lord and Savior approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept.… By his example, Jesus confirms all the Beatitudes that he speaks in the Gospel. By his own witness, he confirms what he teaches. “Blessed are the meek,” he says. He says something similar to this of himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek.” “Blessed are the peacemakers.” What other man brought as much peace as my Lord Jesus, who “is our peace,” who “dissolves hostility” and “destroys it in his own flesh”? “Blessed are those who suffer persecution because of justice.”
No one suffered such persecution because of justice as did the Lord Jesus, who was crucified for our sins. The Lord therefore exhibited all the Beatitudes in himself. For the sake of this likeness, he wept, because of what he said, “Blessed are those who weep,” to lay the foundations for this beatitude as well. He wept for Jerusalem “and said, ‘If only you had known on that day what meant peace for you! But now it is hidden from your eyes,’ ” and the rest, to the point where he says, “Because you did not know the time of your visitation.”5
- COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 5.6. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 69). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- TRACTATE ON THE APOCALYPSE 5:1. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 69). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 5:1. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (pp. 69–70). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE 5:1, HOMILY 4. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 70). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- HOMILY ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 38.1–2. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 300). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.