In the second reading we have the new Jerusalem,
the city of God.
The thing about a city – or, even a rural area like ours –
is there is a lot of interdependence.
When I got up this morning, I wanted water, I turned the knob.
Food for lunch in the fridge. A/C hummed all night.
But all those wonderful things only happen
because of those who run the water plant,
maintain the electric lines, and who bring food to the store.
The City of God works the same way. We belong together.
Our American way of thinking emphasizes individualism.
We like being free to do as we wish.
So a lot of Catholics tend to think about faith
as being an individual thing.
And when we, or our bishops, talk about the obligations
of being a Catholic, it doesn’t always register.
I think this explains why so many don’t go to confession.
Why can’t we just tell God?
And the answer is because our sins don’t just involve God,
they involve his Body, the Church.
And so, also, our reconciliation is in and through the Church.
Most of us were born American citizens,
but if you talk to people who are naturalized,
they’ll tell you about the many steps they took,
and they’ll talk about how powerful it was
to swear their allegiance and become a citizen.
Well, it’s even more true with baptism.
That’s why we renew our baptismal vows at Easter,
and why we profess our Creed each Sunday.
And being a citizen in God’s City, the Church,
Means we live our lives in our Faith and by our Faith.
When you think of it that way,
how can we have a part of our lives we live outside the City?
And yet, that’s where a lot of Catholics are.
Go on the Internet--get outside;
how we run our business, or treat other people,
how we shop or how we vote: we go outside the City.
And this is why we come here every Lord’s Day.
This is where the city we are not yet--
but which God is fashioning us to be--is made present.
This city doesn’t have a mayor; we have a King.
And the King is here! Of course, we come!
If you read further in the book of Revelation,
you’ll see that in the center of that City is a Tree,
“the Tree of Life” – and it gives fruit
“for the nations 12 months a year.”
That Tree is the Cross.
That Tree, the Cross, is made present at every Mass on the altar.
The fruit of that tree is the Most Holy Eucharist!
This church, right here: we’re in the City of God right now!
Of course, we come!