Heavenly Liturgy Joins Earthly Liturgy Sixth Sunday Easter C

Heavenly Liturgy Joins Earthly Liturgy Sixth Sunday Easter C

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 Ps 67 Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 John 14:23-29

            The second reading is from the Book of Revelation. In this book John describes his visions. In some of these visions he sees heavenly worship. In one of these visions of heavenly worship, John sees the risen Lord Jesus Christ in the form of a slain lamb who is surrounded by angels and priests worshipping and praising Jesus with, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain”. (Revelation 4:12 RSVCE)

         Every time we celebrate Mass our earthly worship that is within time is joined to this heavenly worship that is outside of time and spans all of time. A particular intense moment in time that earthly, time-bound worship is joined to heavenly, eternal, outside of time worship is when the priest calls down the Holy Spirit (epiclesis) “on the bread and wine” so that by the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine become body, and blood, soul and divinity of the risen Lord Jesus who is in heaven surrounded by heavenly worship. (CCC 1353)

         In every Mass that is celebrated, our earthly time-bound liturgy is touched, and transformed by the eternal liturgy. Jesus is not crucified again at a Mass rather at the celebration of the Mass the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus is made present again in time because Jesus by ascending into heaven brought his perfect sacrifice of the Cross that took place in time into eternity, into heaven as the perfect “Lamb who was slain.” 

         When at Mass the heavenly eternal liturgy is joined to earthly liturgy, we have access to Jesus’s perfect sacrifice that is now in eternity due to Jesus having ascended into heaven with his crucified and risen body. This perfect sacrifice of Jesus since it is now in eternity is accessible to all times at every Mass specifically by the Holy Spirit descending upon the bread and wine and transforming the time-bound bread and wine into the eternal risen body and blood of Jesus – such a profound mystery of time and eternity meeting, of eternity transforming time, of the eternal sacrifice of Jesus made present in time at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

         The reading for today from Revelation is from chapter twenty-one, where John has a vision of the heaven as like a city, the Holy City of Jerusalem surrounded by wall with twelve gates. Upon these gates is written the “the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel”. The gates and wall of the city stands upon twelve foundation stones on which are written the “twelve apostles of the Lamb” of Jesus.

         In this vision God reveals to John that not only through Jesus is earthly worship joined to heavenly worship at every celebration of Mass but also the Old Testament of Israel, represented by the Twelve Tribes, is joined to the New Testament of the New Israel, represented by the 12 Apostles. 

         As Brant Pitre comments, the presence of the Twelve Apostles as the foundation stones of the heavenly city of Jerusalem is what causes our bishops, the successors of the Apostles, our Pope, the successor of Peter the Prince of the Apostles, to have their significance. For in a similar way as at Mass when earthly liturgy meets heavenly liturgy and is transformed by the heavenly liturgy, the bishops on earth, with all their strengths and weaknesses, are by Apostolic Succession, joined to the 12 Apostles in heaven and are to act also as foundation stones of the earthly representation of the heavenly Jerusalem.[1]

         Today, may we pray thank God for the wonderful mystery of the Eucharist where time and eternity meet. May we also thank God for the gift of bishops, and the gift of the papacy, who in union with the Twelve Apostles in heaven are the foundations stones of the Church because of the one perfect corner stone, Jesus Christ. May we pray for our bishops and pope to live ever more in accordance with this great vocation they have received from God.

God Bless – Father Peter


[1] Brant Pitre, “The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C),” catholicproductions.com. 

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