I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem.
From the first words of the Entrance Antiphon, I am taken to Jersualem. I have hundreds of pictures of Jerusalem on this laptop. One file is named “First Glimpse of Jerusalem” and the file contains pictures I took when I saw Jerusalem for the first time in May 2014.
There is nothing like that first glimpse of the holy city.
We begin today by being reminded of the old city of Jerusalem – which you can still visit – and then being taken into the promise of a new Jerusalem.
The Lord works like that. He takes you from where you are, works with what you know, and leads you deeper.
The First Reading from Ezekiel is worth exploring.
Let’s say, as it does, that there is a holy water that will flow from the steps of the Temple, from the threshold of that holy place…
Let’s say that water will become a river and flow to the east…
And that flowing river will empty into the sea, the salt waters…
and there will be all kinds of living creatures multiplying there…
abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Now, if you have never been to the Holy Land, you are at a disadvantage when you read this. But if you have the chance to go, you must do a few things, and this passage will never be the same for you. Encounter these things literally – and then let your soul grasp the spiritual significance of what Ezekiel writes.
1.Visit the Israel Museum and focus on the massive model of the 2nd Temple. Focus on the steps that lead up to the Temple and imagine water flowing from those steps.
2.Imagine the water streaming down, turning into a river that flows to the east.
3.Look to the east, imagine what you now know to be there, what you have seen…the Sea of Galilee in the north that empties into the Jordan River which flows into the Dead Sea. The sea of salt. The sea where nothing can survive, let alone thrive. Saltier than anything you can imagine. So salty, it looks like a soft layer of snow has surrounded the edge of the sea. But there are no boats. No fishermen here, like there were on the Sea of Galilee.
4.Take a deep breath because the water that flows from the Temple and grows into a river joins the salty sea, and now, everything near it flourishes. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow, their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.
But the Temple is not there. It was destroyed in 70 A.D.
What can this mean?
St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading that we are the Temple and God is the master builder. He has laid a foundation, who is Jesus Christ.
Come on Catholics, you can do this. You can take it from here.
Rivers of water, streams of our birth…
Pouring into the Jordan and flowing into the Dead Sea where the miraculous takes place. What was dead, now not only lives, it thrives like no other place, like the Garden of Eden. Perpetual perfection.
Some say that the Dead Sea is the area where Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. Our God is saying that the worst destruction and greatest devastation you can possibly imagine not only can become Eden, it will become a New Eden.
For He comes.
And He makes all things new.