Revelation 21:1-27 All of creation is renewed and the Bride of Christ—the Church, the New Jerusalem— is presented at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The Kingdom of God ushered in by the Messiah has now reached completion and full perfection. The Kingdom of God in our present age has begun but remains in a state of growth and transformation until the end of time. The twelve gates and twelve foundations of this holy city represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles, indicating continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In an anagogical sense, the Church on earth is a type, or figure, of its definitive homeland, the New Jerusalem of Heaven. (CCC 117, 756-757, 1042-1048, 1090)
Ch 21:2-4 The New Jerusalem descends from the sky, a place of splendor and perfection where the blessed will behold God face to face in the Beatific Vision. These verses provide a glimpse of the state of eternal glory that will be enjoyed in Heaven. (CCC 770-771, 1044-1045, 1186, 2016, 2676)
Ch 21:6 Alpha and the Omega: These first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are a metaphor for God's eternity, stressing that he is the creator of the universe and the ultimate purpose of all creation, especially of the human person. (CCC 1044-1045, 1137)
Ch 21:7 He shall be my son: Through Christ's Redemption, we are all elevated to the status of a son or daughter of God. (CCC 460, 857, 1045, 1138, 2788-2793)
Ch 21:16 The Holy of Holies in the Temple was a cube-shaped room. The angel's measurement of the New Jerusalem reveals that it, too, is cubic. Because the entire city is the dwelling place of God, no Temple or Holy of Holies is necessary. In Heaven, God will be immediately present to the faithful at all times. (CCC 433, 600)
Ch 22:1-5 The new Heaven and new earth is a return to the innocence of the first creation, with the Tree of Life as a source of healing. The curse of Adam and Eve is no more, and the threat of sin and evil is nonexistent. The communion of the faithful with God has been perfected. (CCC 1137)
Ch 22:4 They shall see his face: The greatest reward and happiness that goes beyond human comprehension will consist in the Beatific Vision, seeing God face to face. (CCC 1023-1029)
Ch 22:6-15 Revelation is a prophetic work in keeping with the Jewish tradition. It is above all a call to repentance and to perseverance to be prepared for "what must soon take place." (CCC 528, 1470, 2084, 2095-2097)
Ch 22:16-21 We pray in the Nicene Creed, "I look forward to the resurrection of the dead / and the life of the world to come"; the Church on earth, led by the Holy Spirit, is on a journey toward the perfection of the Kingdom of God and the fulfillment of her mission. The essential message of Revelation is to persevere in fidelity and constant struggle for holiness as all the faithful long to see Christ when he comes again. (CCC 524, 671, 757, 2016-2819, 2550)
22:20-21 Christ promised he will come "soon"; until that day, we are called to seek holiness and growth in virtue to be ready to meet him when he comes—strong in faith, fervent in hope, and limitless in our love for God and neighbor. (CCC 451, 1061-1065, 1130, 1402-1403, 2853)
Hebrews 11:1-22 Faith involves trust and confidence in God's word even if it cannot be verified by our human senses and reasoning. The virtue of hope springs from this combination of faith and confidence. Faith is fundamental to salvation since it requires faith to truly please God and to have a personal relationship with him. The Church recognizes, however, that those who do not know of Christ or the Gospel through no fault of their own can be saved if they seek God, desire to do his will, and follow their consciences the best they can. (CCC 46, 847-848, 1814-1816)
Ch 11:1 Things not seen: We cannot see God directly as he is, face-to-face, but by faith we know God and, therefore, have a personal relationship with him. Faith is a belief in something not perceptible by the physical senses. This is described in the hymn Pange Lingua, which speaks of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist: "Faith for all defects supplying / where the feeble senses fail." (CCC 146-147)
Ch 11:3 True "creation" is to bring something into existence out of nothing. By this definition, a carpenter does not create a table; rather, he builds a table using wood and nails that existed before his work began. God, however, created the universe out of nothing through his Word, God the Son. (CCC 286)
Ch 11:4-7 Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Many of the faithful who lived before the Flood were exemplars of trust and faith in God. The faith and holiness of Enoch, who was assumed into Heaven (as was the prophet Elijah), prefigures that of Mary, a model of faith, who was also assumed into Heaven. (CCC 145, 161, 848, 966, 2569)
Ch 11:8-22 Abraham and other figures of the patriarchal era of Israel exhibited great faith in God's promises even though they would die before they would ever see these promises fulfilled. They accepted their vocation and trials in this life as they eagerly looked forward to the coming Messiah of God's promise. Christians live in hope of extending to many others the Good News of the Gospel and reaching eternal life. (CCC 144-145, 2570-2571)
Ch 11:19 God told Abraham to offer up his own son in sacrifice as a test of his obedience. Abraham obeyed, and the angel of God stopped him before the sacrifice took place (cf. Gn 22:1-20). This happened on the third day after God had given his command. Isaac is a type (TYPOLOGY!!), or figure, of Christ, the Son who would be offered in Sacrifice; the third day prefigures Christ's Resurrection. Through their painful trial, Abraham's faith and trust in God never wavered. (CCC 2572)
Ch 11:23-40 The story of Moses prefigures the Redemption of Christ. Just as the Israelites were freed through the blood of a spotless lamb, we are saved through the Blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God. The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years before they could enter the Promised Land; we sojourn on earth as we await the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life. Like the Israelites, it is our challenge to remain faithful despite whatever sufferings or setbacks we experience along the way. (CCC 147, 1521)
Ch 11:32-38 The list of martyrdoms and near-martyrdoms here may relate to several episodes found in Scripture.
Stopped the mouths of lions: This might refer to Daniel, who survived a night in the lion's den (cf. Dn 6:16-24).
Quenched raging fire: This calls to mind the three young men who were unharmed in the furnace (cf. Dn 3:23-27).
Tortured, refusing to accept release: The woman and her seven sons in the second book of Maccabees suffered terribly at the hands of the pagan Seleucid king Antiochus (cf. 2 Mc 7).
Sawn in two: This describes the torturous death suffered by the prophet Isaiah, according to Jewish tradition. (CCC 2473, 2506)
Ch 12:1-11 Christ presents the ultimate example of patience and persevering fidelity to the will of his Father through his sufferings and Death on the Cross. He traveled to Jerusalem willingly, knowing that he would be arrested and crucified. In our present condition, suffering and struggle are inevitable, and temptations and difficulties will always accompany us. With prayer, discipline, and the grace of Christ, however, we can overcome these obstacles and, at the same time, grow in holiness. (CCC 569, 598)
Ch 12:1-2 Cloud of witnesses: The faithful figures from history who have gone before us serve as a marvelous example of fidelity. The Communion of Saints in significant part includes the powerful intercession of the saints in Heaven. All the faithful, living or dead, are united in Christ. The sacred images of the saints in our churches and homes call to mind the importance of holiness for the whole Church and for ourselves personally.
Every weight: To carry a burden while running slows the runner. As we run toward eternal life, we must drop any burden that hampers our growth in holiness such as sinful habits and excessive and inordinate attachments. (CCC 147, 165, 1159-1162, 1477, 2683)
Ch 12:5-6 A good parent disciplines his or her children out of love in an effort to form the children properly. In like manner, God allows trials in our lives so that our faith and virtues may increasingly mature (cf. Prv 3:11-12). (CCC 270, 1709, 2009, 2223, 2520)
Ch 12:8 Illegitimate children: Under Roman law of the time, legitimation of newborn children did not follow birth automatically. A positive action by the father was needed. Therefore, children who were not recognized by their father had no legal claim on their father's inheritance.
Ch 12:12-29 The Old Law taught us to do God's will out of duty and fear; the New Law invites us to do God's will out of love. We honor and glorify God by leading virtuous lives and striving to imitate Christ in all aspects of our lives. (CCC 2012)
Ch 12:12-17 Despite hardships and challenge, the faithful must persevere in living the virtues required for sanctity, the ultimate goal— unlike Esau, the firstborn of Isaac, who gave up his inheritance in a weak moment to his brother Jacob for a temporary and fleeting pleasure. Everyone, until they depart this life, runs the risk of being unfaithful to their call to Heaven. (CCC 162, 1821, 2013-2016)
Ch 12:22-24 An image of the heavenly liturgy. In contrast to the theophanies of God at Mt. Sinai that so terrified the Israelites, the heavenly liturgy of the New Covenant in which the faithful participate at every Eucharist—is one of celebration and unity. Our weekly participation in the Mass is so vital to our spiritual lives that it is a Precept of the Church.
Speaks more graciously: Abel's murder put Cain in danger of death by retaliation (cf. Gn 4:8-16), but the Death of Christ results in forgiveness of sins and salvation. (CCC 1021, 1111, 2188)
Ch 13:1-6 Hospitality, works of mercy, respect for the sanctity of marriage, detachment from worldly goods, and trust in divine providence are among the attitudes and practices that reflect a solid commitment to Christ. (CCC 2179, 2447-2448)
Ch 13:2 Several figures of the Old Testament welcomed angelic visitors without being aware of their identity. These include Abraham, who took in strangers at his tent (cf. Gn 18:1-21); Lot, who protected an angel from the townspeople of Sodom (cf. Gn 19:1-3); Gideon, who received encouragement from an angel (cf. Jgs 6:11-24); and Tobias, who was safeguarded in his travels by an angel (cf. Tb 5:4-9). The Church commemorates the angels and their work in her liturgy and her liturgical calendar. (CCC 328, 331-336)
Ch 13:3 Visiting the imprisoned is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Christ included it in the Parable of the Last Judgment (cf. Mt 25). (CCC 2447)
Ch 13:4 All sexual acts outside of the marriage covenant are inherently sinful. These sins include adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, masturbation, and other immoral acts involving the misuse of sexual faculties. (CCC 2351-2365, 2380-2381, 2387-2389)
Ch 13:7-19 Christ and his message are unchanging. The eternal truths that he revealed were for all people of all times. We were not made for this world but for the next world; therefore, we must persevere in faith, continuing to praise God in all that we say and do in a "sacrifice of praise." Prayer, good works, sharing our goods with the needy, and obedience to Church authority are key ways to please God. (CCC 1269, 1802, 2032-2040, 2044)
Ch 13:10 Read in light of an earlier reference to how we approach God and enter his sanctuary "by the blood of Jesus" and "through his flesh," this is likely a reference to the Eucharist, which involves partaking in the true Body and Blood of Christ. The altar of the New Covenant is the Cross of Christ, where his Body and Blood were sacrificed, but it may also refer to the altar where the Eucharist was celebrated. (CCC 1182)
Ch 13:14-15 The city which is to come: This is Heaven, which is the New Jerusalem.
Sacrifice of praise: The celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass, is a perfect Sacrifice that surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Testament. (CCC 1330, 2796)
Ch 13:20-25 Timothy, one of Paul's co-workers, was the addressee of two Epistles in the New Testament. This is the only reference in the New Testament to Timothy having been imprisoned.
Saints: The faithful on earth, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and the blessed in Heaven, are all called saints, which means "holy ones." These three states represent the Communion of Saints. (CCC 632, 946-948)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)