May 22, 2022
Through the terrible battles and beasts of the Book of Revelations, the Lamb is Triumphant! What does the climax of His Wedding Feast reveal to us about our vocation?
- The Book of Revelation is a book of the triumph of God’s love. The great apocalyptic symbol is the LAMB who triumphs.
- There was no one else capable in heaven or earth, in the seas, of opening the scrolls of the great designs of God except the lamb, which was a symbol of gentleness and sacrifice.
- The Lord reveals to us that the ultimate power, the final triumph, comes from the power of sacrificial love.
- The book of the apocalypse is joining the definitive union of God with man and Paradise – the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.
- The bride, who is the Church, made herself ready in fine linen. The linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
- We are not invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, we are invited to be the bride in the wedding feast. The bride is the Church and each member of the Church.
Revelation is the book of the triumph of God’s love. The Lord is revealing to us that the ultimate power, the final triumph comes from the power of sacrificial love. Scripture begins with the tragedy of man’s sin, which separates us from God. Then Jesus comes as the Lamb to repair that and reunite man with God. And so, the book of the apocalypse is joining the definitive union of God with man and Paradise.
The Lord, our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. The bride, who is the Church, the mystical bride of Christ. We are invited to be the bride in this wedding feast, because the bride is the Church, but it’s also each member of the Church. Holy Communion is a preparation in anticipation for the wedding feast. It’s already a communion, a strengthening, the communion of our soul with Jesus and preparing for the great wedding feast.
“The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it. For the glory of God gave it light. And its’ lamp was the Lamb.” This is the third and final part of our little three-part series on this book of Revelation, a little glimpse of this book of Revelation. We looked at it, first of all, as a vision of faith in Jesus, and then last week, that it’s a book of hope, amid the conflicts that we’re living in, great conflicts which are symbolized by the beasts. And we all know that this world is a world of conflicts. But today, we consider it as the book of the triumph of God’s love. So, faith, hope and love, and a book full of surprises, of Divine Love. And I just wanted to focus on two points today, because this book, which in many ways is harsh and terrifying, has the great battles and these monstrous beasts. But what dominates the book? What dominates this whole great book of the apocalypse? You know, we talked about apocalyptic symbols. What is the great apocalyptic symbol? It’s the lamb. It’s the lamb who triumphs. And it’s kind of funny, I was thinking, for instance of superheroes. When the comic books invent superheroes, you know, there’s like a superman or aqua man, or batman, or spider man, or even there’s an ant man. But I haven’t heard of a lamb man. You know, a man who was bitten by radioactive lamb. And he goes around in a furry woolly costume. It doesn’t really fit. When you think of sports teams and our mascots, like, you know, they can choose anything they want. So, they choose lions and tigers and bears and bulls and bobcats and wolverines. And rattlers, rattlers, that’s kind of funny one and rams even. But then what sports team wants to choose lambs? You notice what football team wants to have a cute little lamb run out on the field in front of them. So, a lamb seems a funny symbol. When John hears at the beginning of the apocalypse, that he says, “the Lion of Judah has triumphed.” The striking thing is that he doesn’t see a lion, he sees a lamb. And he hears that the lamb is the only one capable of opening the scrolls. There was no one else capable in heaven on earth, in the seas, of opening the scrolls of the great designs of God except the lamb. And so, the big surprise is that God Himself, makes Himself the lamb, the lamb which was a symbol of gentleness, but also for the people in the Bible was a symbol of the sacrifice. And John, St. John the Baptist, announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” the Lamb of God, who will be sacrificed on a cross. And here we have, during the Pascal season, we have here in our midst, a relic of that very cross, on which Jesus was the Lamb of God. And so, what is God teaching us in this great book? The final book of Scripture which is the book which is revealing all that is to come, and which is speaking of this Lamb, which has been prophesied 1000s of years earlier. And, at the central Jewish feast every year, the lamb was sacrificed and consumed. So, this is an extremely important revelation, the Lamb. So, what is God trying to teach us through that? We see what is the Lamb, which is a symbol of Divine Love, and mercy, which sacrifices Itself for our salvation. But the striking thing is that the Lamb is victorious. The Lamb is the great superhero, because the superhero, the true superhero was Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is the Lamb. And so, we could say that the great superhero is lamb man, who is the Lamb of God. And so that’s really shocking for our human way of seeing things. The triumph, so the Lord is revealing to us that the ultimate power, the final triumph comes from the power of sacrificial love. And just a few examples about the Lamb from the Book of Revelations. John sees this collection of heroes. And he says, “These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, follow the Lamb, those who follow the Lamb, that is who follow, imitate the path of the Lamb, who follow the Lamb, wherever He goes, when Jesus says to His apostles, “follow Me.” And so, this is those who have followed the Lamb. And then when John sees those who have conquered the dragon, it says, “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.” They conquered the dragon, by the blood of the Lamb. And at another time, he sees the 10 kings, who gave their power to the beast, and it says, “they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them.” I mean, think of that, 10 Kings attacking a lamb, and the Lamb conquers them. So, who is the lamb? It says, “for He is the Lord of Lord and King of kings,” and those with him are called, and chosen and faithful. So, the Lamb is inviting others to follow it with Him and to enter into this battle with Him. And there’s another passage, which always seems to me so striking, it says, “Then the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the generals, and the rich, and the strong, and everyone, slave and free, so what are they doing? They’re hiding in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And so that’s not all. So, what is calling them to hide in the caves of the mountains? And not only that, it says they’re calling to the mountains and the rocks, “fall on us, and hide us.” So, what can be so terrible, that you’d want these huge boulders to fall on you and crush you? What would be so terrible that you would prefer that? It says, “fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the lamb? I mean, it sounds almost like a joke, the wrath of the lamb. But for them it’s not a joke, the wrath of the Lamb, or the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it? So, the lamb is this great manifestation of the triumph of the sacrificial love of the Lord over the power of satan forever. So, it’s showing us what begins at the cross, the triumph begins there, but then the Book of Revelations is revealing to us, its ultimate manifestation. And then after the final battle, where the Lamb vanquishes His enemies, then John sees the great vision of the new heavens and a new earth. And he says, “and I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. “And I heard a great voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling of God is with men, He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be with them. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And God, says, I make all things new. So, this is God coming down now to dwell with men, and a transformed Earth, a new earth, and a society where – what would it be like to be in a society where everybody knows the light of the Lord and everybody loves Him? And so, it’s in that situation, after the final battle and the new heavens and a new earth, but that’s not the end. And then there is the great announcement of the wedding feast of the Lamb. We saw the bride being prepared for her husband, and it’s leading to this great wedding feast. And so, scripture begins with the tragedy of man’s sin, which separates us from God. Then Jesus comes as the Lamb to repair that and reunite man with God. And so, the book of the apocalypse is joining the definitive union of God with man and Paradise. As Peter Kreeft said, “it shows us when the Divine Lover comes to fetch His bride to take her home, the Divine Lover coming to bring His bride home.” And John says, “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and the sound of mighty thunder peels.” I was talking to someone not long ago, where they said, I know that God is good, but I sometimes doubt that God is great. And I think the Book of Revelations is one of the best for manifesting the greatness of God. “The voice like mighty thunder peels, crying, “hallelujah, for the Lord, our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come. And His bride has made herself ready. The bride, who is the Church, the mystical bride of Christ.” And, you know, we see the Church now on earth, so often disfigured, and disformed by the sins of her members. And, you know, there’s so many tragic examples which cause so many people we know to despise the Church and to leave the Church, because we’re on this battlefield right now. And you can imagine a bride on the battlefield, it’s not a good place to keep your wedding garment clean. Not an easy place. And so, this earth is the battlefield. But then John says, “the bride has made herself ready. It was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure.” And then he explains what that fine linen is. The fine linen “is the righteous deeds of the saints. And so now, there’s now in the Church, there’s no more sin, no more stain. It’s only holiness, the brightness of this holiness. And the angel said to me write this, Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. If you’re not invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, then that’s bad. Because that’s the greatest thing that there is. I mean, it’s not like well, I’m not going to the marriage feast of the Lamb, but there’s something else that’s really good also. No. the marriage feast of the Lamb, is the thing. But the very striking thing is we’re not invited, and this is very mysterious, we’re not invited simply as a guest, to the wedding feast, which would already be a great honor and a great joy. But we are invited to be to be the bride in this wedding feast, because the bride is the Church. But it’s also each member of the Church. And so that’s mysterious, we can’t understand that in our human mind. But many of the mystics, especially someone like Saint John of the Cross, among others, have spoken about this union of the human person with God, the mystical union with God, which is the fulfillment of all that the human person could desire. So, this is with the resurrected body, and with a soul resplendent in holiness, coming into eternal union with God. And so that’s the reason for the whole of our life. You could say the whole of our life is a preparation for the wedding feast, the wedding feast. And marriages on earth are part of that preparation. But so, the wedding feast, no wedding, no marriage on earth can be, can fulfill that. And that’s a tragic thing when people are expecting an earthly marriage to be that. But it can be a preparation of learning to die to myself, or be purified on my selfishness, to be faithful to God, and, and serving Him and serving my spouse, and maybe my children that can prepare me. That’s one path and there’s other paths also. But they’re all leading to the wedding feast of the Lamb. And so that helps us to accept that you know, our life on earth is full of sorrow and suffering. There are joys, but there’s also, a lot of times, a lot of disappointment, and sometimes tragedies. But none of that can take away from us, the wedding feast that we’re called to, the wedding feast with the Lord. And with Jesus, before he died, He said His prayer was that His joy would be in us, that is the joy that He experiences with His Father would be in us. And He says that our joy would be complete, complete, nothing lacking forever, never ending, infinite joy. That’s what the wedding feast will bring about. Full, never-ending joy. And in a way again, that we can’t even imagine. But that’s the great news. Not just the good news, the great news of the gospel. And who is this for? And John hears, “to the thirsty, I will give water without price, from the fountain of the water of life, for the thirsty, that is those who are desiring this union.” And in a sense, that’s what that’s what should happen here on earth, this earth is the place of thirstiness, of thirst. And in many ways, it’s like a desert, but a desert, which is intensifying our thirst because as John hears the Lord saying, “I will give water without price, from the fountain of the water of life.” And so sometimes the Lord is intensifying our thirst and sometimes our sufferings and our tribulations and our trials, is because He’s intensifying our desire, our thirst, so that He can give us a greater fulfillment. Like making us making our hearts desire greater, so that we can receive more. Blessed are those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb. And so, I invited I’ve invited for these last two weeks, you all to read this book of Revelation, the apocalypse, even if we don’t understand that, there’s a lot we won’t understand. But still, we can be receiving Grace’s from it, and receiving especially with our Blessed Mother. She, who is the greatest example of the one who lives the wedding feast of the Lamb. And so, at the very end, the very final verses of this final book of Scripture, speak of the coming of the Lord, the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who hear say, Come, let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price. And so, the water is not given according to how much we pay, but according to our thirst. And there’s not many businesses that run that way, that say, we give according to the thirst and not according to what you pay. So, this is a call for Jesus and then it says He who testifies to these things saying, surely I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. So, we’re going to hear those words. “Blessed are those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb, that it’s well it says in the Mass we hear at supper but the supper it means the wedding feast. Blessed are those called to the wedding feast of the Lamb right before Holy Communion, that is Holy Communion is a preparation in anticipation for the wedding feast. It’s already a communion, a strengthening, the communion of our soul with Jesus and preparing for the great wedding feast. And it comes not just at that moment, but it comes in many graces in our life. He comes in a particular way when our life on this earth ends, to take His home, and then there will be the final coming, when He will lead all His bride home forever. And so, as we prepare for Holy Communion, you can hear these words, Blessed are you who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb, to union with the Lord. Amen.