daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Thursday, 4th Week of the Year, February 05, 2009
Heb 12:18-19,21-24; Ps 47; Mk 6:7-13

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels in festal array, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than that of Abel" (Heb 12:22-24).

This is the New Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, the goal of our journey through this world. This is the light that shines for us through the murk and gloom of this world. We live already in spirit in this city of splendor and light if we are reborn in Christ. It is the city of our contemplation, to which we are transported when we contemplate, and in which we see the glory of the Lord, which transforms us "from glory to glory" into the very image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18).

It is the city whose "radiance is like a most rare jewel...clear as crystal" (Rev 21:11). It is made of "pure gold, clear as glass" (Rev 21:18). It is the New Jerusalem which "has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb" (Rev 21:23).

"...our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil 3:20), "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come" (Heb 13:14). This is the heavenly city of gold and light which we seek, in which is our true citizenship. Here below we are only "strangers and exiles on earth" (Heb 11:13).

We approach this heavenly city by means of the blood of Christ, "the sprinkled blood that speaks better than that of Abel" (Heb 12:24), where our spirit dwells ahead of time amid "myriads of angels in festal array" (Heb 12:22). We are sprinkled by the blood which cleanses our conscience of all guilt (Heb 9:14), and gives us access into the heavenly sanctuary. Christ paid our debt of sin for us with his blood poured out in sacrifice on the cross, suffering our just punishment instead of us, thus giving us access into the heavenly Jerusalem, even now in our contemplation, and in our risen bodies on the last day.

We are, therefore, a people of hope, no longer seeking our joy in the things of earth (Col 3:1-2), for we have already risen and even ascended with Christ (Col 3:1-2; Eph 2:6), and are now sitting with him "in the heavenly places" (Eph 2:6), seeking the things that are above, and no longer those of the earth (Col 3:1-2). We are, therefore, lights in the darkness for others (Phil 2:15), witnesses here on earth to our true homeland, the New Jerusalem, the city of our spirit.




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