Thursday of the First Week of Advent

Last year while teaching a group of sophomores about the book of Revelation, one student persistently argued with me, based on a literal reading of a passage from Revelation, that the New Jerusalem would be cubical. I was a little flustered, since one goal of the unit was to appreciate the symbolic style typical in the book, something lost on the student. That scene always comes to mind when I think about the New Jerusalem. At least, though, that student had a vivid sense that this future reality would be quite real and quite tangible.

The prophet Isaiah speaks about this new city. Is this some fantasy to distract us from important, present-day tasks? If it were, would Scripture even bother us with it? No – as Catholics we should have a real and clear sense that the human story will conclude with the establishment of a perfect, communal society where God reigns and our hearts are satisfied. Cube shaped or not, this will be quite the spectacle.

December 5th, 2013