November 18, 2010

The Lamb

The first reading for Mass today, the beginning of chapter 5 of Revelation:

I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne.
It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth
was able to open the scroll or to examine it.
I shed many tears because no one was found worthy
to open the scroll or to examine it.
One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed,
enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne
and the four living creatures and the elders
a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
He had seven horns and seven eyes;
these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world.
He came and received the scroll from the right hand
of the one who sat on the throne.
When he took it,
the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb.
Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense,
which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.
You made them a kingdom and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.”

I hear in the anguish of the seer the spiritual condition of our world. In the scene in heaven, the story seems to have stalled; the revelation of God's destiny for creation cannot move forward until someone who is found who can break the seals and open the scroll. Likewise our world stumbles around not knowing how to move forward. We struggle to know how to move beyond the violence and ruthlessness embedded in our broken culture, in a world afflicted by war and poverty, in which human life is increasingly commodified or even worthless. The natural order is denied, and then we wonder why so many are alienated, miserable, and feeling unconnected. Who can help us? Who can be found to draw us out of the miseries we have created and cherished for ourselves?

We are not so broken and lost to have forgotten what we really want: a savior. Someone who can move the world forward. Who will our savior be?

The Republican Congress? Barack Obama? Catholic Traditionalists? Catholic Progressives? Saul Alinsky?

No, no, no, no, and no.

It is only the Lamb who was slain who can break the seals and get us in line with the destiny toward which the world is going anyway. Our mission of Christians is to make disciples of him, not of any of these other saviors.


Lisa Graas said...


Greg said...

Nicely argued, Fr. Charles. As usual, you point the way with uncommon sense.

Bud said...

Father, I happened across your blog, and while not a regular reader, found interest in your posts. Particularly, in this one, I'd perhaps suggest we need to look for more than a Savior to save us- perhaps we need to seek a Savior AND Lord. I think when people look to the Lamb only as their savior it is an itellectual embrace. Many will believe with their minds that there is a Savior, but the key is to embrace with the heart, as Lord as well as Savior. Then we will begin to see the direction God desires us in... Thank you for allowing my humble opinion to be expressed. God Bless...