In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis turns our attention to “Challenges from urban cultures.”
71. The new Jerusalem, the holy city (cf. Rev 21:2-4), is the goal towards which all of humanity is moving. It is curious that God’s revelation tells us that the fullness of humanity and of history is realized in a city. We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares. God’s presence accompanies the sincere efforts of individuals and groups to find encouragement and meaning in their lives. He dwells among them, fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice. This presence must not be contrived but found, uncovered. God does not hide himself from those who seek him with a sincere heart, even though they do so tentatively, in a vague and haphazard manner.
The city is a place of great excitement and spirit. More and more people live in them, these days–far more than in biblical times. Has human movement into cities brought us any closer to the Christian ideals of “goodness, truth, and justice”? It seems we need to reflect deeper indeed.