Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunday 7B. "I am doing something new!": All things are made new in Jesus Christ, "the Son of Man", who "has authority to forgive sins on earth"

There are many things that we have seen or experienced so often that we call them "old". And there are times in life when we say "out with the old and in with the new". Some of you may vaguely remember making new resolutions just a short time ago to mark the turning of a new year.

Burdened as we sometimes can feel by the past, we might go through the "old" things in order to lighten our load, to get rid of those items that we no longer need and are tired of moving around in the basement, the attic or the garage.

In the process of winnowing the detritus of a life we might pause and look at an old picture from high school, or from childhood or taken before we got married, and a wave of feeling washes over us both bitter and sweet and we feel intensely the effect of the passage of years. We experience a longing for those days of the past represented by the old photo, postcard, letter or yearbook that stays with us and can even make us somewhat regret the present in a desire to go back and recapture what we feel has been "lost". And we also can become divided about whether we are truly able to get rid of the old in order to make room for the new which is the present day with its commitments and persons and things.

Perhaps we also wonder if it might be necessary to do injury to the present with all of its things in order to recapture the good for which we long, the "newness" of life which we feel perhaps was more fully ours in the past.

There are other ways in which some things we have can seem old and which leave us feeling as though they too need to be traded in or changed in order to get that new and free feeling which we think restores the sense of promise and goodness for which we look in life. Unfortunately sometimes we are tempted to even see the people in our lives as a burden: a parent for whom we must care on a regular basis, a spouse with whom are experiencing a rocky relationship, a child who is experimenting with the wrong friends or activities. How can we find the "new" for which we long within the marriage, the family, the circumstances of our lives to which we are committed before God and before others?

"Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!" Affirmation of our lives and our goodness will not come with an escape, whether to the past or to anywhere else. Only God can restore right now the "joy of our youth" and with it a resolution to the yearning for what is gone and will never come again.

Our faith tells us that it is Jesus Christ that makes all things new for us in body, mind and spirit through the life of grace which opens the horizon of eternity in Him. And even though sometimes our faith seems old and tried and lacking, it is the key to unlocking for us the newness that we are promised by God through grace.

When we were baptized God made all things new for us by forgiving original sin. In the sacrament of Confession he gives us back the newness of our baptismal garment through forgiveness of mortal sins. We are thus able to return to reception of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist so that we continue to grow in God's love which is always a new gift, a wonder to be discovered in so many different ways we cannot number them.

This newness God gives in Christ is the power of His Resurrection which we receive in the sacraments and which we celebrate on the Lord's Day, especially in the Mass. God's infinite grace, which cannot be exhausted, is ever present to us because the same Christ offers Himself in the same Sacrifice in each Mass, as He did on Calvary, except in an unbloody manner.

"In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. "As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out." (CCC 1364)

This Lent let us rededicate ourselves anew to seeking the newness of God, whose love is ever ancient and ever new, through the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

"The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the "Father who sees in secret," in contrast with the desire to "be seen by men." Its prayer is the Our Father." (CCC 1969)

"See, I make all things new". In God's mercy the past is restored and carried forward to eternity. God heals the wounds of the past through mercy without doing injury to what, though passed, still belongs to us while restoring courage for the future in His love ever new in Christ Jesus who lives now for us through mercy.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.


Photo source: Movie "The Passion of the Christ"

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