There is a lot of weeping in today’s readings. John weeps in his vision because there is no one to open the scrolls of the Word of God. It must have been deeply disturbing for John to see the Word of God being offer but at the same time no one worthy to open the scroll. I am sure that he was close to despair. No one capable of opening the Word of God, let alone understand it and preach it. No one to lead the way. John says that he shed many tears in the vision. John and the early Church came to recognize Jesus as the fulfilment of all their hopes for a messiah and the fulfilment of all God’s promises to their ancestors. They recognized Jesus as the Lion of Judah, the root of David, all their hopes for a messiah. Jesus was obedient to his vocation from God even to the point of surrendering his own life. The early Church left us an expression of their faith in the song we just hear from John:
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.
Thus, we as disciples are tied to the sacrifice of Jesus and through Him, we are recreated into a new kingdom of priests for the world.
In the Gospel we see Jesus weeping over the holy city of Jerusalem that does not turn to God. Jesus saw the consequences of Jerusalem’s choice of power, war, and violence to resolve its difficulties. Jesus while weeping proclaims that the choice leads to destruction – even of the most innocent. Pope Francis in one of his homilies how this Word of God comes to us just as we begin to prepare for the Christmas season. We dedicate ourselves to feasts, parties, putting up lights, and nativity scenes while we continue to choose war, violence, and power in our personal and family lives.
Christians live every day as the end times. This produces a weeping, a change, and a conversion. Yet as Christians we always hear the voice of the elder in John’s vision:
Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed.
The Word of God came to us, took on our flesh and opened the way of us. What a joy for us. In this end time, in between time, we as a Church are called to be a sign of change, hope, and joy.