Anyone who has picked up the book of Revelation knows that it has some strange imagery. In the first reading today we see a Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes! But when you understand the symbolism, the message is very deep and powerful. At the beginning of today’s passage, God is holding a scroll that is sealed with seven seals. Seven is the number of God, and seals signify his authority, just like a King would seal up a scroll containing a proclamation or a judgment he has made. But no-one is worthy to open the seals. ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?’ asked the prophet Isaiah.
Then enters the Lamb. He has seven horns – horns signify power, and once again there’s the number seven; so it signifies divine power. He also has seven eyes – signifying divine knowledge. This Lamb is Jesus: he can open the scroll, he can proclaim God’s judgment of the world because of his divine power and his divine knowledge. But what is very beautiful is that the text does not say that Jesus is worthy to open the seals because of his power and knowledge, but because ‘he was sacrificed, and with his blood he purchased for God men of every race and tongue, people and nation.’ Jesus proclaimed God’s judgment on the world when he was sacrificed on the cross, when he gave his life to save the world. The cross is God’s judgment; it is the measure by which God measures the world. The measure of God’s judgment is his merciful love. The only reason to fear God’s judgment is if we run away from it.
– Br Philip-Thomas, CSJ