All Things New
(5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 14:21-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35)
The closing words of today’s reading from the Apocalypse, “Behold, I make all things new,” seem to radiate through all of today’s liturgy. The word “new” occurs at least eight times: three times in antiphons and prayers, once in the Gospel, and four times in the second reading.
We have been celebrating Easter already for four full weeks. Three more lie ahead. Hopefully we are still filled with the joy and newness of the resurrection.
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment, and goes so far as to say, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Faithful observance of this law of love is certainly a challenge, but it ought to make it more natural for us to keep the rest of the commandments. It creates the new heart promised by the prophet Ezekiel (26:36).
No one can doubt that it was love that moved Our Lady to appear at La Salette. Like the light of the apparition, her love, too, is a reflection of the love radiating from the image of her crucified Son, who died and rose for our sake. She is telling us, “I love you as much as my Son loves you.” She promises a new manifestation of God’s tenderness and power.
By urging her people to turn away from sin and turn back to the practices by which they would be recognized as Catholic Christians, she was, like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, “exhorting them to persevere in the faith.”
We can do the same. Some of you reading this are missionaries, bringing the Gospel to peoples of other lands. Most of us need only step outside the door of our homes and hearts to meet people and, by word or action, “strengthen their spirits.” Either way, it is a challenge as we fulfill the new commandment.
We want to contribute to the manifestation of the new heaven and the new earth, here and now. The psalm expresses our hope: “O Lord, let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.”
“The old order has passed away,” says the Lord, as he offers us a new heaven, a new earth, new hearts, new courage.
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse