Friday – 34th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Revelation 20:1-4,11—21:2 + Luke 21:29-33
November 25, 2016
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
The last verse of today’s First Reading offers a key to understanding the entire Book of Revelation. Mysterious as most of its imagery is, the image of “a bride adorned for her husband” is one that we readily understand. But who is this bride, and who is the husband?
St. John gives us some clues. The entire sentence where he describes this wedded couple is: “I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride….” This bride is the Church, and her husband is Christ. This might seem odd, since it’s a city that is the bride. But a city is a collection of persons joined together by several ties. Here St. John is insisting that the most important tie is that of its members being wedding to the bridegroom. St. John is describing the Church as a city, whereas St. Paul uses the metaphor of “the Body of Christ”. As members of this heavenly Jerusalem, how can we reflect on our participation in the Church? We must think of this city as having a divine center, and ask whether our participation in the life of this city is oriented to this center, or whether instead we live in a little back alley of the city, focused on our own interests, apart from the needs of others and the will of the city’s “mayor”, Christ.