Today's readings [display_podcast]
When people ask you where you are from, the way that you answer that question probably depends a lot on the context. For instance, if it was a stranger who asked you that question when you were on a vacation out of the country, you might answer, “I’m from the United States.” If you’re at a business meeting at your corporate headquarters in another state, you might say, “I’m from the Chicago area.” If you just move into a house and you’re meeting your new neighbors for the first time, you would tell them where you used to live. If you are at a ministry function with people from other churches, you would probably say “I’m from St. Raphael’s.” If the person asking isn’t someone you want to know details of your personal life, you might say, “I’m sorry, that’s classified information. Witness protection, you know…”
But seriously, today’s Scriptures ask that question in the context of our faith. Where are you from? In the first reading, we find there are Christians in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but all of them had their hearts – their true citizenship – in the new Jerusalem, the city of God. They may have been from all over the known world at the time, but they were one in faith, united as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Gospel reading has some Jews gathered around Jesus in the Temple, asking if he was the Christ. They wanted to know where he was from. And it was obvious – they had seen his works and heard his words. But they could never be united, because even though they were in the same place, their hearts were from different places.
So where are you from? We could answer that one all kinds of ways. But spiritually, at our core, we are citizens of heaven. Our life’s journey takes us all sorts of places, but its source and its destination are one and the same: our true home is in the City of God. And right now, we are not home yet. As always, the Psalmist says it so well: “One and all were born in her;” – that is, the City of God – “And he who has established her is the Most High LORD.”