Gracious New Jerusalem

Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year C.

We arrive at almost the very ending of the bible with our reading from Revelation 21 today. We are given the vision of the new Jerusalem as it descends and heaven and earth are fully reunited once again. The city is enormous – 12,000 stadia (2,400km) in each direction of the cube – wide x long x high. It is created out of precious stones with 12 gates crowned with 12 angels and built on the foundation stones of the 12 apostles. The gates are always open because now the curse has been lifted and sin and death is no more. There is no temple in the city because God dwells everywhere all at once and his light fills all things.

To make sense of this incredible image, the opening line of the Psalm provides some guidance: “O God be gracious and bless us…”

Blessing is an idea that appears first on the opening page of the bible – when God blesses the animals and then the humans that they will have full and abundant lives.

Gracious is one of the key characteristics of the way that God refers to himself in the key passage of Exodus – the passage that is more often referred to by other authors and writings within the Hebrew Bible itself. In Exodus 34:6-7, we hear five characteristics of God, when he tells Moses: 

a God compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger,
abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Exodus 34:6-7
  • First Reading ‡ Acts 15:1-2.22-29
    It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and ourselves not to burden you beyond what is essential.
  • Responsorial ‡ Psalm 66:2-3.5-6.8
    O God, let all the nations praise you!
  • Second Reading ‡ Revelation 21:10-14.22-23
    He showed me the holy city coming down out of heaven.
  • Gospel ‡ John 14:23-29
    The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.
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