5th Sunday of Easter Year C 2016:
I can certainly say that I like “new” things. I find new things to be exciting. I get excited whenever a new iPhone comes out. When I drive past car lots, I love looking at the “new” cars. There’s nothing better than opening a new pack of golf balls and giving them a whack. I love to read a new book, or watch a new movie. There is something exciting about “new,” something that hasn’t been done yet. We definitely live in a society that values new things. We like things that are new, fresh, and exciting.
What about our faith in God? Does that seem new? Exciting?
The word “new” seems to be a common thread in our readings today. In the first reading, we hear about Paul and Barnabas making new churches, new communities of disciples. In the second reading, we hear that on the last day God will make a new heaven and a new earth, and Jesus says Behold I make all things new. In the gospel, Jesus gives us a “new” commandment: love one another as I love you.
Put yourself in the story. Imagine being Paul. Imagine meeting Jesus and having your life change forever. Then try to imagine going from town to town and talking about Jesus. Everywhere he went it was a new adventure. It was fresh and exciting. Now, it was difficult. They said: “It is necessary to undergo hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” But, they gladly did these hard things because of the excitement they felt at having met Christ, the excitement they felt for that new heaven and new earth that God is preparing for those who follow Christ.
But, what about us? Here we are 2000 years later. The Christian faith might not feel like something new. Billions of people in the history of the world have been followers of Christ. Our parish has been here 87 years. Many of us have been Christian our whole lives.
My challenge for you this week is to recapture some of that “new” feeling when it comes to the faith. I get excited about new iPhones, new movies, and new golf balls. But, none of those things can compete with a new and exciting relationship with Christ. Behold I make all things new. Our relationship with Christ should never feel old and worn out. Christ is ever new, and he is always new and exciting.
I am currently working with a man who wants to become Catholic. He told me right off that he is a totally blank slate. He is learning about the Catholic faith from scratch. To him, everything is new and exciting. It is really great for me to talk with him about the faith. I can see his excitement and his eagerness to learn more.
So, try to renew your faith a little bit. Maybe try something new. If you don’t already, try praying the rosary this week. If you don’t normally go to weekday mass, try that this week. If you don’t normally read the bible, open up that dusty book on your shelf and read the acts of the apostles, where they are taking the new faith to the corners of the world. Stop in the chapel and make a holy hour. Watch a video about the Catholic faith on formed.org. Spend 15 minutes a day in mental prayer, asking Jesus to make your faith new.
God says, behold I make all things new. God wants to be an ever new and exciting part of our lives. He wants to make a new heaven and a new earth. He wants to make us new. Every day is a new day. Every day is a new chance for us to grow closer to God and to allow him to renew and invigorate us. Think about this mass. It is a brand new mass. We have never been here before. We may have been to mass a million times. We may have received communion a million times. But we have never been at this mass, today is a new day to receive Christ in the Eucharist. As we celebrate this mass, God wants to make all things new for us.