Tag: Revelation

Tell us plainly

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9.36-43 & John 10.22-30

How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

Good ShepherdI wonder what you think about the question above; a question that the Jews ask Jesus in our Gospel reading today: is it an unreasonable request? Or is it a question we have asked ourselves at times too? If God exists, why doesn’t he show himself a bit more clearly? It is a question I often hear my pupils asking when we speak about the possibility of the existence of God. Their argument is fair enough: if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why doesn’t he show himself, why does he allow suffering in the world? It is an age-old question, and I don’t think that there is a completely satisfactory answer to it. For me, Jesus’ reply to the Jews this morning may point in the direction in which we may start to look for an answer, but not without difficulty.

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The New Jerusalem

The reading below, is a familiar one, taken from the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is a collection of prophesies and visions attributed to John. Its language is strange for us, 21st century modern people, who are used to looking at things scientifically and factually. Maybe not too bad a way of listening to this short passage, is as if it is taken from a yet-to-be-released Harry Potter film.

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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, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;

 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. 

You hear, esoteric language, talking about places that we cannot really imagine. This time of year, just before Advent, a lot of the readings and themes we hear in Church are about visions, prophecies and what may happen in the future. And by ‘the future’ we don’t mean ‘what happens when we are older’, but what will ultimately happen to humanity and the world. Of course, the answer is, that we don’t know, and so in some sense these visions are speculation of what might happen. However, in some way, one might say, this journey is also mirrored in our everyday lives.

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