33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

The Lamb in today’s First Reading is the Risen Christ, and a vision of Heaven wouldn’t be complete without the Lamb who “seemed to have been slain,” yet lives. Even after Our Lord’s Resurrection he bears the wounds of the crucifixion. His “seven horns” and “seven eyes” symbolize the fullness of power (horns) and knowledge (eyes) that he possesses. He is also the Messiah: a descendant of David, who in turn was descended from the tribe of Judah. As lion, which we saw yesterday, he is the noblest of the tribe of Judah and of David’s line.

The scroll with seven seals is at the right hand of God to show its importance, and its seven seals show that it is totally hidden from all but God, which is why the Lamb is the only one who can open it: it is the Lord’s saving plan in its entirety, a plan that Our Lord alone was able to accomplish. For us God’s saving plan is always shrouded in mystery. John is grateful and we should be too: as today’s First Reading reminds us, Our Lord redeemed us with his blood, all of us, whether we accept it or not.

The elders bear the prayers of the saints as incense; those prayers are our prayers. A speck of incense is small, but it does reach God. Let’s pray not only in thanksgiving, but for our redemption and the redemption of the whole world. The Lamb’s blood has been shed for that purpose.

Readings: Revelation 5:1–10; Psalm 149:1b–6a, 9b; Luke 19:41–44. See also 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.