In his introduction to the book of the Apocalypse, or the ‘Revelation of John’, Nicholas King explains the kind of document John – the author - thinks this book is. It is an ‘Un-Veiling’ or ‘Apocalypse’ (‘Revelation is simply the Latin, and Apocalypse the Greek equivalent of ‘Un-Veiling’). He adds that ‘We learn, further, that it is an ‘unveiling of Jesus Christ’, without any clue as to whether that means ‘a revelation about Jesus’ or ‘a message transmitted by Jesus’. Nicholas King proposes that it is both. We are told that the book is a ‘prophecy’, the speech of God to human beings (and not necessarily, it is important to emphasise, a prediction of the future). [The New Testament. Nicholas King. Kevin Meyhew. ISBN 978 1 84417 324 2]
Today’s reading from this book begins with the vision of those who belong to Israel, and then comes those who belong to the rest of humanity. The overriding theme is that no matter how alarming things are, for those who remain faithful to God all will be well.
Life is not easy, and today people suffer, and on occasions, their only hope, their only relief from suffering is to rely on Jesus. I offer you an example that is current.
The background! A mother-to-be! The pregnancy had reached 21 weeks. The child was born weighing 1 pound 6 ozs: the child survived for two days, which in itself is a wonder. I called on the parents early in the week, and after light-hearted niceties, I asked her how mother was coping with the unexpected loss of her child. As one might expect, she has moments of mental turmoil; she has restless nights, and thinks of what might have been if the child had gone full-term. Her other children knew that mummy was going to have another baby; as it turned out it was to be a brother. The child will never be forgotten by Mother, Father, Siblings, Granny, Aunts and Uncles and close friends. He has been given a name; he will always be a member of the family; he will be buried and his grave will be marked. That child is a saint of today, and his family, by their actions, recognise him as a person worthy of their love and Gods eternal protection.
The last paragraph of today’s excerpt from the book of ‘un-Veiling’ which gives us a more intimate understanding and sharing of the passion of Jesus Christ, we are informed of the question put to John by an elder. ‘Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes and where they have come from?  .... These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb? For persecution, read ‘troubles’. The family who are suffering the bereavement of a child who was too young to sustain life are experiencing ‘trouble’ and pain, ... spiritual and emotional, ... but by their reaction to his short life and subsequent death, they are recognising the dignity and wonder of human life and how precious it is.
They will understand more clearly than most the wonder of creation and the message of Jesus Christ that in his wisdom God chooses when human life ends and eternal glory begins. In his wisdom he creates us, and in his wisdom he calls us to himself.