daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, Last Week of the Year, November 27, 2010
Rev. 22:1-7, Ps. 94, Luke 21:34-36

"And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 22:5).

Today, the last day of the year, we contemplate the new Jerusalem, city of gold and light, a gigantic translucent jewel, reflecting the glory of God. It is adorned with diaphanous gems, which reflect the glory of God in every color, and although made of pure gold, it is nonetheless transparent. "The city was pure gold, clear as glass ... and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass" (Rev. 21:18, 21). It is a city "having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal" (Rev. 21:11). Its light comes from God and the Lamb, which shine through it, illuminating it from within. Therefore "they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light" (Rev. 22:5). And those that are there "shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 22:5).

What is this city? It is the final home of all the saved, where we will live forever with God and Jesus Christ in our risen bodies. This beautiful city only comes down to earth (Rev. 21:2, 10) after the second coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11). The sequence of events is as follows. First is the Parousia, Christ's second coming (Rev. 19:11). Then he will cast the Antichrist into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20), bind Satan for a thousand years in a sealed pit (Rev. 20:1-3), and set up his reign of righteousness on earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4). At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be loosed (Rev. 20:7), but soon after thrown forever into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Then the damned will be judged before the great white throne (Rev. 20:11) and cast forever into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), while the present heaven and earth are destroyed (Rev. 20:11). Then a new heaven and new earth will be created (Rev. 21:1), and the new Jerusalem will come down and rest upon the new earth (Rev. 21:2). Here all the saved will live forever in their risen bodies, which they will receive when Christ comes for them (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-53) shortly before the Parousia.

The new Jerusalem is our great hope, where we will live with God forever, and "see his face" (Rev. 22:4). How should we then live to be worthy of this? Jesus tells us today. "Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare" (Luke 21:34). A Christian cannot live like the world, for the society and culture of this world are organized around pleasure and forgetfulness of God. A Christian must go against the current of his culture and not go along with its secularized and decadent customs, ways, and fashions. He must discern what he does and not just participate in everything going on around him. He should rather live a simple and austere life, only for God, with a pure heart and body, reserving himself for God alone in everything, not dividing the love of his heart among the pleasures of the world. This is the way of perfection, to which all are called. Those who live this way and believe in Christ will live in the new Jerusalem. And even now they live in spirit with God in this city of gold and light.

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