If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Not So Hard to Understand

At times, I wonder if the book of Revelation is difficult for some to understand because they choose to reject the idea that God is not only “Love,” but also of judgment and wrath. It is as if they cling unknowingly to the Marcion heresy.

But for those who acknowledge judgment and wrath as also part of God's character, the Book of Revelation, despite its symbolism, is not difficult to decipher – certainly not its central message.

Indeed, if the central message of Revelation was hard to understand then Jesus’ warning in 1:3 makes no sense: "Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.” Neither does His warning in 22:7: “Behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.”

God would not command us to heed or keep something we cannot understand.

However, when we acknowledge that God’s patience has its limits, and that He will indeed judge His creation at a final and eternally definitive judgment, then the central message of Revelation takes on a very weighty exhortation:

Everyone on planet earth must meet Jesus as either the Lamb of God who takes away their sin, or they will meet him as He warns in chapter 19 of the book:

11 "Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was called “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name inscribed that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a cloak that had been dipped in blood, and his name was called the Word of God. . . . "

15 "Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty. 16 He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

17 "Then I saw an angel standing on the sun. He cried out in a loud voice to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come here. Gather for God’s great feast, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of military officers, and the flesh of warriors, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of all, free and slave, small and great.”

Symbolism aside, the message is not shrouded in mystery.

Please do not ignore God’s requirement to repentance and conversion, and to a life of obedience toward God who would rather be your gentle Savior than your wrathful Judge.


Anne said...

I have just read you article in Shalom Tidings June July 2017 edition. You are a faithful Catholic writer. Thank you.

A point of feedback: your depiction of the war veteran amputee wreaks of pity. As a physical therapist with decades of experience working with families & persons with disabilities, I resist, at every opportunity, the promotion of pity for the same people I serve.

I ask you to consider this sensitivity in your future writings. Can you make the point of parent suffering because of their child's suffering without invoking pity?

Rich Maffeo said...

Hello, Anne. Thank you so much for commenting on my piece in Shalom Tidings.

I am very sorry you interpreted my vignette as one purposely designed to evoke pity. That was not at all my purpose. Rather, I was attempting to illustrate the pain of the Father as He looks at the scars on His Son -- scars received because of our sins.

Peace be with you.