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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 21,9-27

One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came to speak to me and said, 'Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.'

In the spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God.

It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.

Its wall was of a great height and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel;

on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel that was speaking to me was carrying a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and wall.

The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs, equal in length and in breadth, and equal in height.

He measured its wall, and this was a hundred and forty-four cubits high -- by human measurements.

The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like clear glass.

The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone: the first with diamond, the second lapis lazuli, the third turquoise, the fourth crystal,

the fifth agate, the sixth ruby, the seventh gold quartz, the eighth malachite, the ninth topaz, the tenth emerald, the eleventh sapphire and the twelfth amethyst.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made of a single pearl, and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

I could not see any temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple,

and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.

The nations will come to its light and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures.

Its gates will never be closed by day -- and there will be no night there-

and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth.

Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John describes the holy city as the "the wife of the Lamb." It is the Jerusalem that comes down from heaven, the dream and the goal of all peoples. No one can reach it by him or herself: it is placed on a high mountain. John himself is carried up to it. There is always an angel that takes us and guides us. He tells each one of us: "Come!" If we listen to him and follow him, we too will be carried towards the city of heaven. In fact, listening to Holy Scripture already makes us citizens of the Holy City in the here and now: we can see it, inhabit it, live it, and build it. It is a city founded on the traditions of the apostles, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "You are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone" (Eph 2:19-20). At the same time, the Holy City is open to all peoples: the twelve gates swung open to the four cardinal directions to indicate universal opening. Indeed, the gates are never closed: "Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there." No one is so distant that they should feel like a foreigner: all believers, all of the just, all the men and women of good will, and all those who work for peace are citizens. They are all children of God and brothers and sisters of each other. There will not be a temple in the holy city, because we can all encounter God directly. Paul’s announcement that we "are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in" us (1 Cor 3:16) will be fully realized. According to the book of Revelation, communion with God is the ultimate goal of each man and woman: every distance and barrier will fall and give way to intimacy. God is all in all. Isaiah sang: "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you... Nations shall come to your light... The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory" (Is 60:1, 3, 19). An eternal light covers the city, which no longer knows darkness or the shadow of night (Zech 14:7). This light is provided by the divine glory that resides in the city and by the Lamb that is its living temple and lamp. All barriers will end, fences will fall, borders will be eliminated, property will be abolished, the doors of the houses will always be open in hospitality, and the gates of the city will welcome the flow of pilgrims from all peoples, just as Isaiah had prophesied (ch. 60 and 2:1-5). All nations will gather in Jerusalem, coming together in a universal pilgrimage, bringing their different gifts in an embrace of fraternity and peace (v. 24-26). It is a dream that we can start living now if we remain bound to one another.

Memory of the Church