Here is today’s second Mass reading, from the Apocalypse: ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”’

The fourth century Ephrem the Syrian wrote in his hymn, ‘The Pearl’: ‘On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren; I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom; semblances and types of the Majesty; it became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son. I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand, that I might examine it: I went to look at it on one side, and it proved faces on all sides. I found out that the Son was incomprehensible, since He is wholly Light. In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded, and in its pureness a great mystery, even the Body of Our Lord which is well-refined: in its undividedness I saw the Truth which is undivided. It was so that I saw there its pure conception, The Church, and the Son within her. The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him, and her type the heaven, since there shone forth from her His gracious shining’.

This writing of the great Syriac writer seems a worthy comment on the vision of John. It may be that you have a pearl in your home, perhaps in a rosary, or in some other kind of artefact. You may like to hold it as you read these words and ponder on the ‘Bright One Who cannot be clouded’. May God bless your Sunday, and draw you ever closer to Himself.