Second Reading - Apocalypse 21: 10, 22-23
Have you ever wondered where the idea of the “Pearly Gates” came from? Today’s Reading (and, especially, the bits missed out!) gives us an explanation.
John is given a vision of the Holy City - the New Jerusalem. It is so exquisitely beautiful that he has to use images of jewellery and precious metals to give an idea of its splendour.
Its gates commemorate the twelve tribes of Israel - the founders of the People of God. The foundation stones are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles - the founders of the “new” People of God”. In one image, John shows the continuity between the “Old” and the “New” and honours the roles they have played in bringing people into the Holy City of God.
One important observation he makes is that in this City, there is no Temple - no church - no special holy place. In this City, everywhere is holy because the Lord God and the Lamb dwell there. In the same way, their glorious presence brings light to the City.
This is a wonderful image of the glory of heaven - the new Jerusalem. You may feel uncomfortable about taking it literally - but you can let the power of the image play in your imagination.