What’s the truth Jesus comes to bear witness to in this last Gospel of the Church’s year?
It’s the truth that in Jesus, God keeps the promise he made to David — of an everlasting kingdom, of an heir who would be his Son, “the first born, highest of the kings of the earth” (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:27-38).
Today’s Second Reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, quotes these promises and celebrates Jesus as “the faithful witness.” The reading hearkens back to Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would “witness to the peoples” that God is renewing his “everlasting covenant” with David (see Isaiah 55:3-5).
But as Jesus tells Pilate, there’s far more going on here than the restoration of a temporal monarchy. In the Revelation reading, Jesus calls himself “the Alpha and the Omega,” the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. He’s applying to himself a description that God uses to describe himself in the Old Testament — the first and the last, the One who calls forth all generations (see Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12).
“He has made the world,” today’s Psalm cries, and his dominion is over all creation (see also John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). In the vision of Daniel we hear in today’s First Reading, he comes on “the clouds of heaven” — another sign of his divinity — to be given “glory and kingship” forever over all nations and peoples.
Christ is King and his kingdom, while not of this world, exists in this world in the Church. We are a royal people. We know we have been loved by him and freed by his blood and transformed into “a Kingdom, priests for His God and Father” (see also Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).
As a priestly people, we share in his sacrifice and in his witness to God’s everlasting covenant. We belong to his truth and listen to his voice, waiting for him to come again amid the clouds.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.
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