One of my favorite scenes from “The Passion of the Christ” is where Mary encounters the bloodied and exhausted Jesus as He carries His cross to Calvary. Jesus says to His mother, “See, Mother, I make all things new.” Here, these words offer us hope, as we’ve heard in today’s passage from Isaiah. The Lord promises a new Heaven and a new Earth, rejoicing and happiness, no more weeping or crying. A future bright and prosperous. This was Jesus’ mission here on Earth, to end the old way and bring about the new; new ways to encounter God (through Him) to build a world of love and understanding, of hope and forgiveness, of loving God and neighbor.
In our world right now, we are being told that moving forward things will be different, there will be new ways of life implemented, the way we work, the way we communicated, the way we worship. The end of the world as we know it. This message isn’t one of hope, I think it’s one of fear. Fear of the unknown, the uncertainty, a world that will pull us away from each other and institute the solitude that is the opposite of what our Lord wants for us. This is not to say that we should ignore what we are being told about some distancing at this time or being proactive in doing what we need to do to slow the spread of sickness. That is what is needed now. But when it does finally come to an end, we cannot change our lives around to avoid being around people, let’s not let isolation be the new normal. Jesus calls us to be with others, to help others, to care for others, to be involved in other’s lives for the purpose of getting each other to heaven.
We need to trust and believe in the love of the Father, to follow the example of Jesus, to recognize His love and care for us. To trust in Him as the official in the gospel did. The man asked Jesus and he believed and all was well. Well, my friends, we may ask, we may pray and things may NOT turn out so good for us. But that is not the time to turn away from Jesus, to isolate ourselves from society. That is exacted the time we need others, we NEED Jesus to be our guide, our savior, our way. Let us take this time during Lent, to see what “new” the LORD has created in us. Lent is a time for preparation, for getting ourselves ready for the “new” Jesus died for. My prayer is that what we prepare for is banding together, not isolation. If the time comes that we need to close our doors for a while, for the common good, we need to stay vigilant, and when the time comes, to reopen our doors wide and continue to be that example of loving God and neighbor. While we literally don’t know what the next day will bring, let us be Christ for each other now and come back even stronger again when we can. We have a strong community here at St Raphael, I pray we don’t lose that during this time of “distancing”.