God to dwell with us in the new earth
By Glen Argan
This Sunday’s Second Reading from the Book of Revelation is among the most astounding short pieces in the Bible. Situated after Christ’s victory over Satan and after the universal judgment, “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, [comes] down out of heaven from God.” And we thought that, at the end of time, we would go either to heaven or to the lake of fire.
But no. Heaven will come to us. A loud voice then proclaims to John, “See the home of God is among humans. He will dwell with them as their God.” All suffering will cease, all tears wiped away and death will be no more.
God who sent his Son will now come in full majesty, not to sweep us away, but to dwell with us in the holy city which he sends down from heaven. It is the ultimate exclamation point on the goodness of creation.
Reflecting on this reality, the Second Vatican Council declared, “the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. For here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the new age” (Gaudium et Spes, 39). Our actions for good in this world have eternal implications for they will be burnished and transfigured in the new creation.
What an awesome responsibility we have! Even our smallest acts of love help to shape the new heavens and the new earth. We should leave no stone unturned in our quest to do good. What we do will live forever, and God himself will dwell in our midst. I can hardly wait.
Readings for Sunday, May 19, 2019, the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 14.21b-27 | Psalm 145 |Revelation 21.1-5a | John 13.1. 31-33a, 34-35