The revelation of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wondered what the Book of Revelation is about? You’re not alone. This book has baffled, bedeviled, and frightened readers for centuries. That’s mainly because the Book of Revelation is a different kind of writing that we’re not too familiar with in the twenty-first century.
Revelation is a prime example of “apocalyptic” literature. That means it uses dramatic imagery—cosmic signs and fanciful creatures—to interpret present-day events. In the case of this book, it is an interpretation of the readers’ own challenging situations: persecution, false gospels, complacency, and general hardship.
But that’s only one part of the picture. The overall goal of Revelation is to reveal Jesus himself, the One whose kingdom can withstand any challenge or hardship. It’s an unveiling—a throwing back of the curtain around heaven.
From now until Advent begins, the Church’s liturgy will feature readings from this beautiful but puzzling book. These readings will unveil a truly awe-inspiring Jesus. You’ll see him take his throne on a seat of glory. You’ll see him surrounded by myriads of worshippers crying, “Holy, holy, holy” (Revelation 4:8). You’ll even hear him speaking from heaven as he tells you that he has come, not only to destroy the old reign of sin, but also to “make all things new” (21:5).
For the next several weeks, begin each prayer time by asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes so that you can see Jesus in the passages you will read. Then read through them. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Go ahead and picture the scenes. Imagine yourself actually in them. Let those pictures draw you into worship. If you find yourself struggling amid unfamiliar signs and symbols, that’s okay. See if you can find a commentary in your Catholic study Bible that might clarify these images for you. Footnotes can provide context or help you understand what the images mean.
Finally, trust that God is going to bless you. After all, he said, “Blessed is the one who reads” (Revelation 1:3)! Let this fantastical imagery help you imagine Jesus’ majesty. Let it convince you that no matter what life throws your way, Jesus is on his throne and in control.
Word Among Us