Hope of a New City of Joy and Peace

What sustains us in difficult moments is the hope that things will be better. As conditions become increasingly tough, people naturally desire a future filled with better promises. The Christian life is anchored on the assurance that the future is a glorious one, and this is far greater than what we can imagine. This hope sustains our Christian journey, which is conceived as a pilgrim way. The readings of today buttress this hope with the vision of a new city of joy and peace that awaits all believers. This will be brought about by creation of a new state of affairs that will eliminate all contrary forces. These ideas become prominent as the Church comes to the end of the liturgical year, which symbolically marks the end of time and the renewal of all things.

Elimination of the Forces of Death and Hell

Human Life is menaced by the forces of darkness, which are represented in the book of Revelation as monsters and dragons. The greatest of these forces are death and the underworld, represented variously as hell and Hades. They manifest themselves in various forms and torture human life at all levels. The book promises that these forces will be definitively defeated at the end time. In this light, the Gospel text of today encourages us to hold our heads high as our liberation is close at hand.

A City Where God Dwells in the Midst of His People

What makes the new city resplendent is the abiding presence of God. His presence is incompatible with darkness because He is all light. The city will have no need for light because God is the light of the city. This text makes us dream dreams of a new world. A place where all death dealing forces and all causes of misery will be definitively abolished. This is what the Church intends to realize when she proclaims the reign of God. It is a situation where God’s presence fills all creation and determines the actions and choices of people. When the psalmist says, “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise” (Psalm 84:4), he means that dwelling in the presence of God is the greatest thing that can happen to a creature. It is the source of lasting joy and peace.

[Readings: RV 20:1-4, 11—21:2; LK 21:29-33]

Fr. Luke Ijezie

Rev. Fr. Dr. Luke Emehiele Ijezie comes from Amucha in the Imo State of Nigeria. He is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria, and ordained a priest on 24th September 1988. With a Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Scripture (SSL, Biblicum, Rome, 1995, STD, Gregorian University, Rome, 2005), he has since 2006 been a lecturer in Sacred Scripture and Biblical Languages at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He is the national secretary of the Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria (CABAN) and executive member of the Association of African Theologians (ATA), a member of various professional associations, among which are the Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). He is the author of numerous publications. Contact: Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt emehiele@yahoo.com

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