This is a reprint of “Good News,” the weekly reflection written by Campus Ministry staff and students that is distributed at Sunday Masses at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
By Anna Otto, Campus Ministry
On all Saints Day, the readings, mostly from the Apocalypse, gave a glorious picture of the New Jerusalem, a city with splendid gates, full of beauty and majesty. We hear about the throne of God and the 24 thrones of the elders dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads. The readings ask, “Who do you think these are, all dressed in white? And where have they come from?” Maybe your mind turns to visions of St. Paul, St. Timothy and Titus, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Hilary, St. Aelred, St. Lucy, St. Therese of Lisieux, or Catherine of Siena — the Communion of Saints.
“Who do you think these are, all dressed in white? And where have they come from?”
The reading provides an answer to the question: “These are the ones who have survived the great period of trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
In our own time, martyrs like Oscar Romero, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The glorious vision of the New Jerusalem provides us with an image of the world to come. Yet the world butts its head into the vision and reminds us that the trial continues in Africa, Latin America, Asia and our own country.
“Who do you think these are, all dressed in white? And where have they come from?” Have they come from the night raids of soldiers trained in the School of the Americas? Have they come from the starved children of Guatemala? Starved by our hunger for a cheap hamburger? Do they come from “religious” wars that seem to blaze like brushfire around the world? Have they come from scared children in school shootings?
“Who do you think these are, all dressed in white? And where have they come from?” Clothed in white, these people are also reminders of our baptismal identity. Our baptismal identity is our true identity: children of God, sisters and brothers of Christ, who know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
This past Sunday at the 11 a.m. Mass, students from the St. Thomas community celebrated the Rite of Welcoming as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. They are:
Lydia Bernhart, Nick Welter, Jillian Berg, Christopher Carman, Julie Goldsberry, Helly Lee, Jen Nelson, Marissa Piper, Mikki Roth and Nate Schultz.
They may not be wearing white robes, but they are recalling their baptismal identity and seek to complete their initiation through the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist. One day they will bring home their white robe to the new and eternal Jerusalem so they may stand before the throne of elders dressed in white robes and join the choir of angels as they sing before the throne and the Lamb. May we one day join them as they sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.