Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Church

I, Zechariah, raised my eyes and looked:
there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.
I asked, “Where are you going?”
He answered, “To measure Jerusalem,
to see how great is its width and how great its length.”

Then the angel who spoke with me advanced,
and another angel came out to meet him and said to him,
“Run, tell this to that young man:
People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country,
because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.
But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the LORD,
and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,

and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.

In this reading the Lord speaks through the prophet Zechariah of a Jerusalem to come that will be without walls, like open country. But, says the Lord, I will be for her as an encircling wall of fire and I will be the glory in her midst. The Church, the New Jerusalem, is this city without walls, at one and the same time welcoming to the world and generous to it with her gifts and yet without defenses against it, just like her Lord who went before her.  The Church is strongest and the most effective bearer of that glory where she can stand firm in that open and vulnerable space, confident that the Lord will see to it that no worldly force bring any harm to her, and secure that that glory which is the gift of his presence will always be with her, since she is not only his bride but his body as well.

Vintage photograph of the Abbey church of Our Lady of the Valley. Meditation by Father Timothy.