5th Sunday of Easter
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: May 15, 2022
“See I am making all things new.” This vision of God in the book of Revelation says that the Lord is making all things new. We see the promise to make all things new by politicians, during elections, by dictators, and so on. How is God making all things new in Jesus? Not by force, not by violence, not by neglecting the weak or poor, not by winning over others.
This vision says that God, “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” This reading is used during Easter at funeral Masses. It is a vision of Heaven where all things will be made new by God.
All that is broken, divided, hurting in this life will be healed, reconciled, made new. But, each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We do not simply say wait until heaven and then all will be good. We are called to bring that vision here on earth, in our lives, in our time.
Jesus says that he gives us a new commandment. To love one another. How do we know that we are disciples of Jesus? If we have love for one another. The challenge of the Church today and in all time, is that we love one another. It is easy to love the church as an abstract idea. Harder to love the real people who are in the church with us.
“See I am making all things new.” Only love is able to create something truly new. Only love is able to bring the vision of Heaven to this earth. Only love is able to change any person into something new. You cannot truly help others unless you first of all love them.
I always say to seminarians preparing to be priests, that the first step when moving into a parish is to learn to love the people in that parish. We cannot care for the poor, unless we first of all love them. We cannot make a community new unless we first of all love those within that community. Whether it is a parish, a family, a school or any other community of people. Only if we first love them can we be an instrument that allows God to make them new.
The love that Jesus is speaking about is his own example of self-giving love. Each time we celebrate this Eucharist we hear the words of Jesus at the Consecration, “This is my body, given up for you.”
We need to love one another to become instruments of God making all things new. For we can only bring about something new if we first love them very concretely. Your children, your grandchildren, your spouses, your friends, your students, pray for them so that you grow to love them.
I really am moved by those words in this passage from Revelation, “God will wipe away every tears from their eyes.” I imagine God reaching out to wipe away tears from those who are hurting in any way.
When Jesus gives us that new commandment to love one another, he is calling us to be the hands of God wiping away tears from the eyes of those in our life. Our family, our parish, our school, our workplace. Pray for them so that you will learn to love them. Go out from here and become the hands of God wiping away tears. This will open the path to make all things new.