Today’s excerpt from the New Testament Book of Revelation is meant to be understood in reference to a text from the Old Testament- the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
In the concluding chapters of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel envisions the temple of heaven revealed on earth, from which flows a life giving stream of living water rushing forth into the world, and in the wake of this mighty torrent, the world is purified and redeemed.
This is what the Book of Revelation presents to us today, a vision of the temple of heaven come to earth, at the center of the temple is the Lamb of God, Christ the Lord, and from this temple, flows a river of living water that nourishes a garden, the trees of which impart healing and life. This temple and its garden are the paradise of the lost Eden restored. It is in this temple, that humanity meets God, face to face, and basks in the light of heavenly illumination. God and humanity, Christ and his Church, share communion with one another. The long estrangement of creation from Creator, humanity from God, has been overcome.
Yesterday, I spoke about the Book of Revelation as being a vision of how God in Christ sees the realities of heaven and earth. The strange visions of the Book of Revelation impart God in Christ’s perspective, and his vision, his perspective, exceeds the narrow and confining ways that we look at the world.
The Book of Revelation is an invitation to come out of our constricted and confining vision, out of our darkness and into Christ’s own wonderful light, to move from our place in the shadows of self imposed illusions and into his reality.
In this regard, what the seer of the Book of Revelation describes to you today is the Mass, as seen from the perspective of Christ.
Now I know that for many, the experience of the Mass might be prosaic, banal, ordinary, made even more so, by our insistence that the mysteries of the Mass be delivered on our terms.
As a result, the Mass might not seem, at least from our worldly vision, to be much of anything at all.
Today’s excerpt from the Book of Revelation should shock us out of our complacency. The Mass is everything that the Book of Revelation describes it to be. Heaven meeting earth. God and humanity, Christ and his Church, come face to face. What was lost of a paradise long ago is restored and a rushing torrent of divine grace pours out as living water for the healing of the world. It is in the Mass that the divine presence of the Lamb of God is not only revealed, but unleashed upon his creation.
If our perspective, our vantage point, for looking at the Mass, never exceeds the narrowness of our own vision, we will never see what God in Christ intends for us to see.
Urgency. Urgency is the great theme of both yesterday’s and today’s Gospel.
Christ the Lord insists that now is the time to accept him, to repent, to change, to begin your life anew. Much in our lives distracts us from the urgency of Christ’s invitation.
Our worldly preoccupations compel us to defer conversion and repentance until later. Our worldliness tempts us to believe that conversion and repentance really don’t matter, and that we are somehow exempt.
In regards to our resistance, in regards to our refusals, today’s Gospel is a warning. Now is the time, Do not delay any longer. Do not presume that you will stand secure when the Son of Man comes.