Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you ….”
In the Book of Revelation (see Rev 21:2), the city of Jerusalem serves as a symbol for the Church. The Church is the “new Jerusalem”. In that passage from the Book of Revelation, it’s specifically the Church in Heaven that is being spoken of. The Church in Heaven is sometimes called the “Church Triumphant”, in contrast to the Church on earth (the “Church Militant”) and the Church in Purgatory (the “Church suffering”).
It shouldn’t be surprising that a city would serve as a symbol for the Church. Both are congregations of people united in a certain way. In any city, its residents are united by a common locale, where the residents’ homes and workplaces are located. The city has leaders who maintain public order and utilities. The analogy to the life of the Church is clear.
Yet in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus speaks of Jerusalem in terms of reprobation. He refers to Jerusalem in personal terms, declaring that it’s the city itself “who kill[s] the prophets and stone[s] those sent to” it. While exploring a theology of corporate moral responsibility is beyond the scope of a brief daily reflection, it’s worth noting that what Jesus says in this passage is not mere history. In some sense, there is a parallel between Jesus’ reprobation of Jerusalem and the reprobation due to the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Despite the Church’s divine commission, the Church Militant throughout her history, and the individual lives of almost all of her members, bears sins deserving the Lord’s reprobation. The Church is always in need of reform, because her members require ongoing conversion.