Jesus Unrolls the Scroll
3rd Sunday Ordinary Time
January 23, 2022
When Jesus goes home to Nazareth in today’s gospel, all eyes are upon him. He unrolls the scroll to read from Isaiah in his home synagogue and then sits down to preach. But this dramatic beginning to Jesus’ ministry reminds me of another even more momentous moment when Jesus will unroll another scroll – and it is found in the book of Revelation (Chapter 5) at the end of time.
All of heaven grows silent as a scroll with seven seals is presented to Christ, for only he is worthy to open this great and sealed document. Both of these scrolls, unrolled by Christ at two different points in salvation history, are really one and the same: Scripture.
We are now living in the time between these two events, and it is only in Christ that we can really understand what history, and indeed our lives, are all about.
And how do we meet and come to know Christ? Primarily through the Word of God. In prayer, we speak to God, and in Scripture, God speaks to us.
These days many of us are on information overload. At no other time in history have so many had access to so much information, news and entertainment of so little lasting value. Many are literally driven to distraction by an incessant need to know. Do we really need all this news and entertainment in our lives? COVID information overload perhaps? How about our spiritual health?
Often, what is truly life-giving doesn’t get digested properly, and that life giving book, of course, is the Word of God. There is almost nothing we can do besides prayer that has the power to revolutionize our lives more than reading Scripture. When it is our turn to stand before Christ, he will be holding a scroll in his hand. He has handed each of us just such a scroll, His Word, and if we neglect it, we are really missing the boat, because this is the only book, the only “scroll” that will be important on the last day of our lives. The world around us offers many ideas about what life is all about: if they don’t line up with scripture, they are bogus.
I have started putting a small bible on my car seat. I am not allowed to get in or out without reading a line or two. This Sunday, try to hold onto part of the readings at Mass. Find your own ways to take Scripture with you as you go about your day and watch the Holy Spirit begin to revolutionize your life!