Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:1
Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. Luke 21:29-30
Jesus, create in me a New Jerusalem, a place where you will dwell. Help my heart to be that home from where your love will spring forth to all people in creation that you will touch through me.
Free me from the things of the past which have hindered my journey with you. Help me to wipe away the tears of weeping children and to support the elderly in their final days. Help me to fulfill your works of mercy so others, too, will find you dwelling in a New Jerusalem in their hearts and lives as well. Amen.
What does it say?
In some of the most poetic images of the Bible, we study these last days of the liturgical year, we read about the prophesy of the Kingdom to come. Everyday, in the Lord’s Prayer, we Catholics and all Christians worldwide pray for “thy Kingdom come,” the Great Hope of our faith.
In these readings, we hear that it will be so. However, this prophesy of a New Jerusalem is nothing new to the student of the Hebrew Bible who will hearken back to the magnificent words of Isaiah 65:17-21:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime; He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years, and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
What does it mean?
There are those who interpret this literally and will wait until a New Jerusalem is reconstructed to replace the city of the Hebrew Bible.
That many happen. We will never know it. In the meantime, we can build such a City of God in people’s lives and in people’s hearts. The building will be erected by those who have answered and accepted the mission invitation (“Come, follow me.”). They will receive their reward not in this world but when the New Heaven and New Earth arise. According to Matthew 19:28-29:
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
What does it matter?
We become new when we accept the friendship of Jesus in our lives and act accordingly. We don’t have to wait for some distant second coming of Christ. This isn’t just about the Rapture. It’s about what we DO UNTIL THAT TIMES COMES. “The dead will be judged according to their deeds.”
We can bring Him back to earth every day in our piety, in our study and through our actions; through the sacraments and through our faith.
We can build the New Jerusalem right here. Right now. Go ahead. Pick up a hammer by loving someone. Turn over the first breaking of the ground with your shovel.
Humanity can’t wait any longer. Just take a look at the Sudan or the South Bronx.
Through the witness of a simple silent prayer in the Blue Mosque, Pope Benedict today showed respect for that faith. What simple steps will you take to make “thy Kingdom come?”
One idea is to write to our Catholic Governor of Virginia and again ask him to avoid using the death penalty as our Pope and bishops have taught. Another man is scheduled for execution on December 8. For more information, visit this web site STOP THE EXECUTION OF PERCY WALTON Take Action!
Ask Governor Kaine to respect life and to commute Percy Walton's death sentence to life in prison.