Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week Old and Ever Fresh

At last Wednesday's General Audience Pope Benedict continued his meditation series on the church and the apostles. In it the pope spoke clearly that

"John wants to instill in his readers [of the Book of Revelation] an attitude of courageous trust. With his strong and sometimes difficult images, he certainly des not intend to propose enigmas to solve, but to suggest a path to certain hope."

That reminded me that the point of the images (numerical, animal, human, celestial) is that they have no other point than this "attitude of courageous trust." The imagery, so alien to us, was at home in the symbolic world-view of the 1st-century church.

It is worth reading Pope Benedict's entire message. It is equally worthy to recall that approaching the Book of Revelation with an eye to figuring the date of the world's end is like reading a plane schedule: no matter what a schedule may say flights may arrive early or late. Plus, Jesus warned against trying to schedule the Last Day: "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13.32 || Matthew 24.36).

That being so, I read the Book of Revelation to deepen my attitude of courageous trust in God's victory over all. Try it and pay attention to who is in control of what takes place in that vision of seeing and hearing heaven.

No comments: