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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Barron » Robert Barron - Come, Lord Jesus

Robert Barron - Come, Lord Jesus

Robert Barron - Come, Lord Jesus

Peace be with you. Friends, on this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Church gives us the privilege of hearing the very last words of the Bible. Again, if you're reading poetry, you're reading a novel, you're reading even a great work of history, the last words are of tremendous importance. It's when the whole story comes to its denouement. And I mentioned last week, in a way the story really comes to its climax with the arrival of the heavenly Jerusalem. But today is a kind of coda. It's a kind of denouement after the great climax of the story. And it's full of all sorts of interesting things, and I think gives us a clue as to the identity of the Church.

So let me take it kind of step at a time. Notice how the book of Revelation began with the voice of Jesus. The author hears this voice like a trumpet and turns around to see. So it begins with Jesus' voice and then it ends with the same voice. "Behold, I am coming soon". What have we heard now throughout this book? That the world as we know it is ending. The old order has collapsed. The world, in a negative sense, that means the order based on sin, the world that contributed to the death of Jesus, all the cruelty and violence and hatred and injustice and intolerance and all of that, that contributed to the death of Jesus, swallowed up in the ever greater divine mercy. It means that old world is collapsing.

Notice please, "is" collapsing. It's not completely over, but it's been defeated. So now we live in this time where we await the coming of Jesus, when this battle will be definitively over. We're living in the in-between times, where the mop-up operation is ongoing. So even though two millennia have passed since the Resurrection, we're still in this attitude. We hear the Lord saying, "Behold, I am coming soon," and so we wait. It's kind of a permanent advent quality of the Church. We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior. He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last". Why is he the Alpha, the beginning? Because in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and through that Word all things came to be.

So go right back to the beginning of the book of Genesis and the creation of all things precisely through the power of the Word, because God spoke it into being, remember? That's the poetic way of stating what John states in a more philosophical mode. God speaks the world into being through the power of his Word. So from the beginning, Jesus is implicated. Why is he the Omega? Because in his great cross and Resurrection, the story has come to its climax. The story has now been resolved. Everything has been fulfilled. He bookends the whole history of humankind. Again, we live in that little period, the end times, in between the definitive victory of Jesus and then the final mop-up operation. But we acknowledge too, he's it. He's the beginning, the end.

You want to understand the dynamics of history, don't look primarily to political events in the eighteenth century. Don't look to the Industrial Revolution. Don't look to ancient Rome. No, no. Look to him. He's the Alpha and the Omega. Then we hear this. The Lord says, "Blessed are they who have washed their robes and enter the city by the gates". Now we heard earlier in the book of Revelation about those who've washed their robes white in the blood of the lamb. That's all about the martyrs, and Revelation says a lot about martyrs. Remember the 144,000. But I think here the reference is a little wider. "Blessed are they who have washed their robes and enter the city by the gates".

Who are these who've been washed? I think it's all the baptized. All those now who've been washed and cleansed through Baptism and so can now, listen to me, enter into the heavenly Jerusalem even now. Yes, ultimately at the end of all things in its perfection it will emerge. But in the end times and the in-between times, where do you find the heavenly Jerusalem? It's the Church. The Church in its sacraments, especially the Body and Blood of Christ. The Church in its formal and official teaching. The Church in its apostolic succession. The Church in its great works of art. The Church in its saints. Thomas Aquinas said that Baptism is the door of the spiritual life. It's through Baptism that we gain entry into the Holy City of the Church.

See the point everybody. In the in-between times, between the victory of Jesus and his cross and Resurrection and the final consummation of all things, where's the place to be? Not in the old order. See, that's collapsing, that's giving way. Don't waste your time with the old order, but rather get washed and enter into the anticipation of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the Church. I wonder at times if we baptized have any real appreciation of the privilege we have in being members of the Church.

See, we're the seed of the new world, if you want. Jesus accomplishes the Paschal Mystery but then he draws people into his Mystical Body. I'm shifting metaphors, we become cells and molecules and organs in that Body so as to achieve his purpose in the world. So get in the Church, get in the Church. That's the right place to be in the in-between times. Then this, which is marvelous and you spend, oh, the rest of the summer anyway, meditating on what this means. "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.'" So the Church, the new Jerusalem. The Church, the anticipation of God's kingdom. The Church, where we live out this new way of life. That's true, but what's the Church's primary responsibility? To say, "Come, Lord Jesus". It looks to Christ and calls out for him to come back, calls out to him.

Now it's referred to as the bride, and that's pretty familiar, right? So Christ is the bridegroom. The Church is his bride. Okay. He wants to effect a mystical marriage. And so here we are the bride and we're calling out. Think here of the Song of Songs. This wonderful kind of love poem and one lover calling out to the other. Well, that's the Church crying out to Jesus, "Come". But how wonderful, it's not just the bride, but the Spirit and the bride say, "Come". Well, why the Spirit? The Father and the Son have breathed forth the Holy Spirit into the Church. Remember the scene on Easter night when Jesus breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit". Receive the love that connects the Father and the Son.

So now, now, that Spirit is alive in us, sent from the Father and the Son, but what does it prompt us to do? Above all the Spirit prompts us to call out to the Son, "Come, come". See how wonderful this is, everybody. As I've said before, Christians are not outside of God. Like God's up there, out there somewhere and I'm just here kind of begging or I'm cajoling or I'm petitioning. No. That's what any religious person could pray. Christian prayer always takes place within God. The Father and the Son send the Spirit into the Church. The Holy Spirit, the love between the Father and the Son. And now that Spirit calls out to the Son, "Come, come".

Now can you see? This is the whole liturgical life of the Church. This is every prayer. We say it, of course, explicitly at Mass. "We proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes". The whole Church is a kind of Spirit-filled longing for the coming of the Son. So that what? In Christ all will be gathered together. That's it. That's what the Church is all about. It's the New Jerusalem. It's the place where the Spirit and the bride say, "Come". Here's a last thought, everybody. It's very important now for Catholics to remember this. What is the Mass but a sort of call and response between the head and the members.

So when the priest comes in, vested to cover up his ordinary clothes, he's not operating in his own name and his own person, rather he's operating "in persona Christi," we say. He's in the person of Christ. That's why when he speaks, it's Christ speaking. When he preaches, it's Christ who preaches. When he says the words of consecration, they're not his own words. Heck, if I just pronounce words in my own name, on my own authority, who cares, who cares? But as a priest, I'm operating in persona Christi. So what's happening at the Mass, but the Head, Christ, is calling out to his people and they're calling back to him. "The Lord be with you". "And with your Spirit". Mind you, "with your Spirit" meaning with the Christ who's in you.

"Lift up your hearts". "We lift them up to the Lord". A call and response between Christ and his Church. The liturgy, everybody, is playing out exactly this dynamic. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come". See, because the people at Mass, they're filled with the Holy Spirit. That's why they can call out to the Son. Think about this, and I'll close with this. When you're at Mass, you are in the heavenly Jerusalem by anticipation. Think of it. You're in this sacred place. You're in the place now that's been formed by Christ, and you're meant to go out from there to transform the world. But at the heart of your identity, when you're there at Mass, you are the Church saying, "Come. Come, Lord Jesus. Come back. Come".

And it's the Spirit prompting you to say that. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come". What's his response? Listen now. I'm going to read to you the very last words of the Bible. Last words. This is the culmination of the whole story. It's no accident this book is the last book. "The one who gives this testimony says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen! Come, Lord Jesus"! There's the way the Bible ends. "Yes, I am coming soon". That's Christ's voice. Yes. Even though I know it's been 2,000 years, but soon. For the Lord, a thousand years are like yesterday come and gone. Yes, yes, I'm coming soon and so we say in response, "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus"! The Church finding finding its identity in this beautiful call and response. Okay. That's our task now until he comes. And God bless you.
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