Commentary on the Gospel of
As we make our way through each day, we desire to see and experience the presence of the Lord with us in the midst of the day and its many activities. We know and believe that the Lord is always present; the challenge is to recognize the ways he is choosing to encounter us. For a variety of reasons, we can miss the signals, the signs of his presence. In the words of today’s gospel, we miss the “time of [our] visitation.”
Today’s passage from the Book of Revelation supplies one possible explanation for our difficulty in welcoming the Lord’s daily visitation.
The One found worthy to open the scroll is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The allusion, from Genesis 49,9, recalls that the messiah was expected to show himself as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, a mighty warrior. Yet, the drama of the scene from Revelation points to the surprising truth that the Lion has become the Lamb, the Lamb slain, put to death, purchasing a people by his Blood.
Many people in Jesus’ day did not recognize the visitation of God in Jesus, because he did not come with a “roar,” destroying his enemies and creating a kingdom by brute force. Rather, he appeared in weakness and human frailty and then died in apparent helplessness. But he is the victorious Lamb, who created a kingdom in his Blood. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2, 8 alludes to this surprising appearance of the Savior and the blindness of those around him: “If they had known the mystery, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.” The messiah, a crucified criminal??
Often enough we, too, do not see “the mystery” around us. The Lord of glory appears in humble circumstances, in the persons of the poor and defenseless around us, in our places of personal poverty, weakness and apparent failure. We often look for him in places of expected strength and power, according to the world’s standards, missing him where he chooses to show himself in true power.
Let us ask the Lion who became the Lamb to open our eyes, so that we do not miss the times of his visitation this day.