Friday, January 15, 2010



New City Magazine - January 2010


by Chiara Lubich

“God will dwell with them; they will be his people” (cf. Rev. 21:3)

“See, the home of God is among mortals.He will dwell with them; they will be his people,and God himself will be with them” (Rev 21:3).

This month’s Word of Life is an exhortation: if we want to be part of his people, we must allow him to live among us.

But how is this possible, and what can we do to have a foretaste, while still on earth, of the endless joy we will have in seeing God?

This is exactly what Jesus revealed to us, this is the very meaning of his coming: to communicate to us his life of love with the Father, so that we too can live it.

We Christians can live this phrase even now and have God among us. Of course, to have him among us requires certain conditions, as affirmed by the Fathers of the Church. For Basil, the essential condition is living according to the will of God; for John Chrysostom, it is to love our neighbor as Jesus did; for Theodore the Studite, it is mutual love; and for Origen, it is accord in thought and in feeling, so as to arrive at that concord which “unites, and contains the Son of God.”

The key for allowing God to dwell among us is found in Jesus’ teachings: “Love one another as I have loved you” (cf. Jn 13:34). Mutual love is the key to the presence of God. “As long as we love one another, God will live in us,” (1Jn 4:12) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’’ (Mt 18:20), says Jesus.

“God will dwell with them; they will be his people.”

In this light then, the fulfillment of all the promises of the Old Covenant - “My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ez. 37:27) - is not far off and unattainable.

Everything is already accomplished in Jesus who continues, beyond his historical existence, to be present among those who live according to the new law of mutual love, that law which is the norm that makes them a people, the people of God.

This Word of Life is therefore a pressing call, especially to us Christians, to witness through love to the presence of God. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’’ (Jn 13:35). Living out the new commandment sets forth the conditions for the presence of Jesus among all people.

We cannot do anything unless this presence is guaranteed, a presence which gives meaning to the supernatural brotherhood that Jesus brought on earth for all humanity.

“God will dwell with them; they will be his people.”

First of all, it is up to us, Christians, even though we belong to different ecclesial communities, to let the world see “one people” made up of every ethnic group, race, and culture, adults and children, sick and well – one people to which we can apply the words referred to us about the first Christians: “Look at how they love one another and are ready to give their life for one another.”

This is the “miracle” humanity is waiting for in order to regain hope. It will also make an essential contribution to progress in ecumenism, the journey towards full and visible unity among Christians. It’s a “miracle” within our reach, or better, within reach of the One who, dwelling among his own united by love, can change the destiny of the world and lead all humanity towards unity.

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