Angel showing John the heavenly Jerusalem, manuscript illumination from the Revelation to John, c. 1020; in the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg, Germany.
"And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb. And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. " (Apocalypse 21:22~23)
I love the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation). In it, St John takes us with him on his journey in spirit into heaven. While I do not pretend to fully understand this book chock full of symbolism, every once in awhile a passage strikes a deep chord within me. This happened today at Mass as I was listening to the second reading. The above verses in particular. Here on this planet, we seem to take for granted that the sun will rise each day and the moon will shine each night. St John describes the heavenly Jerusalem as not needing sun nor moon because the light will come from God Himself! When I heard this today, it was one of those moments that I wanted to tell the lector to just stop right there because I need a few minutes to let that sink in. God Himself is the temple and His glory enlightens all of heaven! Now that is something worth striving for. Everything else literally pales in comparison. However, when I forget this awesome fact, I lose the peace that Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel. Jesus tells His disciples that He leaves them His peace, not worldly peace, but His. It is the peace that can not be taken away from us unless we allow it to be taken. Jesus also tells His disciples that He is going away but will return for them; He is telling us the same thing. He will return to take us to that place where His glory will illuminate everything and there will be no need of a temple because the Almighty is it and we will praise Him forever in the temple of the Beatific Vision. This is the place Our Lord has prepared for each one of us. May we keep His peace and continue the journey toward our heavenly home which for now we can only catch glimpses.