Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
John is brought to the point of tears in Revelation today. The angel by the throne of God asks who is worthy to open the scroll, and no one is found. Over the whole world, there is not one person who can open the scroll. Seeing this, John despairs and begins to cry. He is consoled, however, when he is told that “the lion of the tribe of Judah” has come, triumphed, and is worthy to open the scrolls. One cannot help but think of the multiple occasions in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series where the main characters, humans and Narnians alike, are unable to defeat the forces of darkness, and then Aslan comes.
We are not worthy to open the scroll. We have sinned. Not just once or twice, but on a regular basis. We know very well what we ought to do, and still find ways to fall short of the mark. For this exact reason, Pope Francis has regularly encouraged us to go to confession, and publicly led by example in doing so. And also for this reason, Jesus, the Lion of Judah, has agreed to stand in for us. We are not where we are supposed to be, so Jesus stands in for us until we get there, and helps us on the path. In this light, the response of the elders– to kneel before Jesus, offer multiple golden bowls of incense, and sing a new hymn of praise– becomes a very natural response. We would do well to consider our own response to this gift from Jesus.