We Are What We Are—What He Is
Thirty-Third Week of Year II Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm reminds us of our identity: “The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God” (Psalm 149).
The first reading is in contrast to the Gospel. In Luke 19: 41-44 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because they didn’t listen to him:
If only you had known the path to peace this day. But you have completely lost it from view.
And he predicts disaster:
Days will come upon you when your enemies… will wipe you out… and not leave a stone upon a stone within you.
The physical destruction of Jerusalem is just an image of the ravages sin works within any society deaf to God’s word. This is what we have in mind when we pray after the Our Father at Mass: “And protect us from every perturbatione.” This prayer, added by the church in Rome under threat of barbarian invasions, asks not just for freedom from “anxiety,” but for “objective and subjective security” amid all the “disturbances” caused by sin in our society.
In Revelation 5: 1-10, however, John has a vision of the “end time.” There is a scroll with seven seals. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary suggests that the scroll is “a book of destiny in which events of the end-time are recorded (Daniel 10:21…). Opening the seals is equivalent to causing these events to occur.”
Jesus has the authority to open the scroll:
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
People can do what they choose. History can take any course it takes. But Jesus is Lord of all. We must not forget that.
You are worthy to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain. With your blood you ransomed for God people of every race and tongue, of every people and nation. You made of them a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they shall reign on earth.
Jesus has won. He has conquered sin and all the consequences of sin (the chief of which is death: Romans 5:12-21). The result of this is a new identity for us. Having died in Christ and risen in Christ, we have ‘become Christ.” We are a “new creation,” his risen body on earth. In Him we are what he is: sons and daughters of the Father in Christ the “only Son of the Father.” We are “priests in the Priest” and “kings in the King” (i.e. stewards), consecrated prophets, priests and kings at Baptism. We are a “royal priesthood.” “The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.”