November 17, 2022 –
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
“Worthy are you to receive the scroll / and break open its seals ….”
Today’s passage from Revelation focuses on Jesus Christ. Yet it also teaches us something important about His Bride, the Church. The entire Book of Revelation is not only profoundly Christo-centric, but also centered on the Church, because the whole book has a spousal message.
In today’s passage we hear of “a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne”. It’s fair to say that the one on the throne is God the Father, seated in His majesty. The scroll is the Good News of His Son. We might even say that this scroll is the Gospel.
But this scroll is sealed seven times over. A mighty angel rhetorically asks, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” The answer is the “lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David”. These two metaphors represent Jesus Christ in regard to His earthly authority, suggesting that only Jesus Himself can authoritatively reveal Himself to others.
Then the Lamb who is slain is seen. This image of Christ crucified shows us that it’s through the Cross that Jesus reveals who He is to others. The Crucifixion of the Word made Flesh is the “glory” which St. John’s account of the Gospel builds up to.
The end of today’s passage speaks of those for whom the Lamb was slain. We hear the Church’s leaders singing “a new hymn”, during which they cry out to the Lamb: “with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.” This is the universal Church who is the spouse of the Bridegroom who gave His life on Calvary.