Today is the last day of the liturgical year. For a whole year we have journeyed and struggled and wrestled and wondered and wandered with humanity as we have liturgically made our way from creation through re-creation to this day. I believe the Church wants us to rejoice, to tremble with the excited conscious wonder at what has been given to us, what is our destiny in Christ.
The First Reading begins:
“An angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God
and of the Lamb down the middle of the street,
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month;
the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.” (Revelation 22: 1-2).
In the end-times, the final river that will flow forever from the throne of God and the heart of the Lamb, the eternal city, the new Jerusalem hearkens back to Genesis, the primordial garden where we first encounter a river: “In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens … a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:4, 6).
However, in the fullness of time and in life everlasting, the river of life-giving water will not rise from the earth but, sparkling like crystal, it will flow from the throne of God and the Lamb, and flow through the middle of the street of the city.
In the garden, leaves became the means for Adam and Eve to hide their naked shame from God, from the Creator who loved them, sustained them, desired their complete and forever happiness. They used fig leaves to cover themselves after they had eaten of the fruit at the bidding of the serpent. In everlasting time, as the book of Revelation tell us, leaves are no longer associated with sorrow and sin and the craftiness of the serpent that brings death and destruction. The leaves of the trees are now the means of healing and health and wholeness and holiness. They serve as medicine for the nations.
We, my friends, know this. The Church places this mystery squarely before our praying hearts and open eyes. The darkened confusing clouds that swirl around people today break the hearts of our brothers and sisters, blinding them to this vision. Too many have never heard it preached to them.
But we have. We have! Today! In this very liturgy! Or if we cannot participate in Mass, in this moment of meditation on the Word. We too live in the confusing chaos of our times, but we have heard of the Fountain of living water that rises within us and the city of Jerusalem that awaits us!
Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. This culminating glory that overflows our hearts spills out into the beginning again of our liturgical remembrance and celebration of the One who has saved us, who reversed our sickness and death and heals us, fills us with life, and washes us in his blood.
In the Responsorial Psalm let us truly cry out: Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy! Begin Advent with joyful excitement and cry out:
Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community: https://www.patreon.com/srkathryn.
Feature Image Credit: Gerd Altman https://pixabay.com/photos/sky-clouds-clouds-form-3335585/