The readings today describe contrasting moments in the life of the people of God and of every disciple of Jesus. The first reading from the fifth chapter of the Book of Revelations is almost giddy with excitement at the realization that the Lamb (Christ) is worthy to break open the seven seals on the sacred scroll that comes from the throne of God, thereby revealing and initiating the saving actions of God. In contrast, the Gospel reading from the nineteenth chapter of Luke presents Jesus lamenting the fate of Jerusalem, a destruction sealed by the narrow vision of the religious leaders of his time and their inability to recognize Jesus as fulfilling God’s saving promise to Israel.
An inability to see or imagine God’s presence and movement in our world is not restricted to the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. It is an experience that can and often does touch us all. Its sources are varied: complacence, cynicism, self-righteousness, fear, disappointment, loss, sin, to name just a few. None of us are immune from the blindness fostered by such experiences. Just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, we can end up trapped by our unbelieving heart.
Today’s readings invite us to think about what is going on in our lives of faith. Are we still struggling with past experiences that have kept us from seeing God’s movement in our lives or accepting God’s invitation to trust more deeply? The Eucharist reminds us that the power of the Lamb to reveal God’s presence and action remains strong as we remember Christ’s gift of himself for our sake.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.