In today’s First Reading the apostle and evangelist John’s visions of the end time continue with the vision of a mighty angel standing on land and sea bearing a small scroll. John approaches and asks for the scroll. The angel straddling land and sea symbolizes that the message he is bearing, represented by the scroll, is meant for everyone. John asks for the scroll and is instructed to eat the scroll, which is sweet to the taste, but sour to the stomach. The message is sweet because it predicts the final victory of God’s people, but also sour because it’ll be a hard won victory: the message also announces the suffering of God’s people.
As Christians this prediction should not shock us: Our Lord said we had to take up our cross and follow him, and that anyone who sought to save his life would lose it. Christianity without crosses is incomplete; it wouldn’t event represent the Christianity of its Founder. We will also face suffering and persecution for being part of God’s people, but we continue in hope knowing that the victory has already been won by Our Lord.
Whether we’re oblivious or defeatist, today’s message is a call to hope and perseverance. Let’s not shy away from suffering, because it is the path to victory.