I saw that in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne there was a scroll that was written on back and front and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a powerful angel who called with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ But there was no one, in heaven or on the earth or under the earth, who was able to open the scroll and read it. I wept bitterly because nobody could be found to open the scroll and read it, but one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, and so he will open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw, in the middle of the throne with its four living creatures and the circle of the elders, a Lamb standing that seemed to have been sacrificed; it had seven horns, and it had seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits that God has sent out over the whole world. The Lamb came forward to take the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne, and when he took it, the four living creatures prostrated themselves before him and with them the twenty-four elders; each one of them was holding a harp and had a golden bowl full of incense which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new hymn: You are worthy to take the scroll and to break its seals, because you were sacrificed, and with your blood you bought people for God of every race, language, people and nation and made them a line of kings and priests for God, to rule the world.
With the apostle John we cannot thank God enough that he has given and revealed to us his Son as the Lamb of God! Who but him can be worthy to know the mysteries of salvation and the course of the history of salvation? The book remains closed, for no one can understand it by himself, no human mind can penetrate and interpret it! Only God Himself can make it understandable to us through His Spirit, therefore it remains sealed to us, unless the Lord opens the seals and we recognise in His light what He wants to tell us! How and when he does it is up to him! We should read the Apocalypse and hear it also in the proclamation, because there are many passages and statements that are already opening up to us in the light of faith, others may only become clear to us when the events described occur or when we recognise that they have already occurred!
Today we are invited to join in the praise of the Lamb of God! In the Lamb of God everything is placed in the best and most worthy hands! A God who loves us and gives his life for our salvation, who is ready to offer his mercy to the greatest sinner and lead him to repentance, who bears the burden of sin for us, who gives people back all their dignity, makes them kings and priests, who falls silent before his tormentors like a lamb and prays for them; this Lord can be deeply trusted! This Lamb of God is the loving and just God and we know that He will do all things well!
This praise of the Lamb helps us to find a deeper meaning to all the events we encounter in life and also to the manifold needs we are not spared! The Apocalypse does not hide the fact that we live in a world that is often far away from God, in which demons are also at work and where there are terrible conditions, has been and will be until the end of time! But the Apocalypse is rightly called a book of consolation, because it opens our eyes again and again to God, so that we do not sink into the events and remain without hope!
The sadness of St John in the vision, because no one was found to open the scroll, finds comfort! There is someone there who can open the book!
So the consolation for us is that it is the Lord who knows all events and circumstances of life, even unto death! This is why it is so important that we join in the praise! History is not a blind sequence of often terrible events! The Lord has intervened and given new life through his death and resurrection “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” (1Cor 15:55) St Paul exclaims with joy! And because this is so, we can live in hope and not despair even in the face of dramatic events! The Lord will lead everything to its end and wipe away all tears in the end (cf. Rev 21:4)!
We must therefore look to the Lord and put all our trust in him! This is the invitation that the text of today sends us! It is not the powers of darkness that will reach their goal and triumph in their work of destruction, as it might sometimes seem! No, it is the Lamb of God to whom all power and glory is given! Through hardships and struggles the victory of the Lamb will show itself!
Hold fast to this in faith, then we will be led through difficult times and live with God in mind! The Lord himself tells us:
“When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.” (Lk 21:28).
If we keep our eyes on the Lamb, he will always be our comfort!