A new heaven and earth?
What’s wrong with this one?
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Change is a challenge to us in some of its forms.
Of course we tend to ignore the small or insignificant changes around us because we might not even notice them. The grass grew a few millimeters – we wouldn’t see it, but eventually we notice that its time to mow. Bigger changes confront us and we have to deal with them. It may be a move, new job, a pending graduation, retirement, or a decline in health. These changes unsettle us and may cause us stress.
Today we are confronted with God’s ultimate change – the dissolution of EVERYTHING and the coming of a new heaven and earth.
St. John paints this beautifully in the poetry of Revelation. We see the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. The city is prepared as the new home where God and His people dwell together. God comes to us to live in this new place – talk about a big move. There we are joined with Him in a joy that knows no bounds. All that hinders and hurts us is cast off and there will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain.
We, as Christians, are called to be an eschatological people. It is a big word, but means that we are a people in touch with this new heaven and earth. We are a people who live in the present, but also live in this time-to-come. We are a people that cannot wait for this change.
When we gather, particularly at Holy Mass, and in the sharing of the Holy Eucharist in communion, we are at once in many places. Instantly we are at the Last Supper, the foot of the cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and at the new heaven and earth.
Because we live in all of these places when we “Do this in remembrance” of Him, we are to have no fear, no stress over this coming change. In fact, we are to rejoice in it and pray unceasingly for its coming. We already live there and want to see its fulfillment.
There are many who wish to paint horrific pictures and stories about this moment to come, to instill fear, to make it stressful. Don’t be fooled. We who are His people need only have confidence that all the wrongs, tears, and pains of what we have are nothing compared to the joy to come. Come Lord Jesus!