At the end of Mass Effect 3, the Reapers seize control of the Citadel (which is the Catalyst) and bring it to Earth orbit. Out of universe, it's obvious. A final stand on Earth is simply cool. But in universe, why would they bring the Catalyst near their fight and their enemies. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to bring it far away from the reach of their enemies?
1They were getting pretty entrenched on Earth. Moreso than anywhere else they had active forces. Otherwise you wouldn't have needed to bring all those friends...– RadhilFeb 1, 2016 at 21:43
I may be miss-remembering, but:
The Citadel had the processing facility to convert organic life into new Reapers. With the Collector base destroyed/disabled and no other processing facilities seen in game, the Citadel was necessary to start the harvesting process in the current cycle.
As to why the Reapers started with Earth, this was likely a desire to remove a troublesome species from the cycle early in the war. Humanity in general, and Shepard in particular, showed an adaptability and tenaciousness not present in the other advanced species of the current cycle. This would have put them high on the priority list to harvest and preserve.
The below video has Anderson and Shepard speculating about a new Reaper being made on the Citadel (starting at 1:07).
ANDERSON: I'm in a dark hallway. Reminds me of your description of the Collector base.
SHEPARD: Makes sense.
ANDERSON: You think they're making the Reaper here?
SHEPARD: Sure. They round them up on Earth, then send the people up here to be processed.
ANDERSON: Goddamn abomination.
@Scrotinger I'll search around when I get off work. Hopefully I wasn't just assuming that point based on the Reapers beaming all the bodies up from Earth. Feb 1, 2016 at 22:40
@Scrotinger It isn't directly stated by any of the Reapers, but Anderson and Shepard do speculate about it. I've update my answer. Feb 2, 2016 at 5:18
pretty weak, but I figured this was mostly for out of universe reasons anyway Feb 2, 2016 at 5:20
I figured a lot of the plot in Mass Effect 3 was trimmed/cut in order to make it more shooter-y, tack on multiplayer and sell DLC. Feb 2, 2016 at 5:22