Who Can Open the Scroll
It is hard for us to understand the history of the Church. We all know it. We have asked ourselves a thousand questions. Why should the faith in China be snuffed out? Why should we have had in the last fifty years more martyrs than the Church had in the first 300? Why was there such a persecution in Ireland, where there was obedience and loyalty to the Church? Contemporary history puzzles us. It puzzled John. The whole history of the world was summed up in that scroll of which John wrote in the book of Revelation: 'Who can open that book with the seven seals?' We would know the answer to every detail of human history. John tells his concern about it: 'And then I saw in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne, a scroll with writing inside and out. And it was sealed up with seven seals, and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seal?' Yes, who can open it? Who can understand history? 'There was no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth able to open the scroll or to look inside it. I was in tears because no one was found worthy to open the book and to look inside. But one of the elders said: Do not weep, for the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the scion of David, has won the right to open the scroll and break its seven seals. And then I saw standing in the very middle of the throne, inside the circle of living creatures and the circle of the elders a Lamb with the marks of slaughter upon him. And the Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne, and when he took it the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. And each of the elders had a harp and they held the golden bowls of incense and the prayers of God's people and they were singing a song: Thou art worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals for thou wast slain and by thy blood thou didst purchase for God men of every tribe and language and people and nation. Thou hast made of them a royal house to serve God as priests and they shall reign upon the earth.' It is only the cross, only Christ crucified, only the Lamb with the marks of slaughter upon him who is able to open the book.