Homily — 5th Sunday of Easter MMX 5/2/10

Homily — 5th Sunday of Easter MMX 5/2/10

I John, saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; the former Heaven and the former Earth had passed away.

The Book of Revelation, and the Bible itself, ends with this vision of John the Apostle of a New Heaven and a New Earth.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, St. John who was the youngest of the Apostles, wrote the Book of Revelation when He was an very old man, long after his brother Apostles had gone home to the Lord.

Normally, this Scripture passage is interpreted to mean that at the end of time, Jesus is going to make a new world where only justice and peace abides.

While that’s certainly the case, it is equally true to say that, after following Jesus faithfully for so many many years, after seeing all that Jesus had revealed in the Scriptures and Traditions He handed on to the Apostles,

After all that, John now saw a New Heaven and a New Earth – He saw Heaven and Earth from a totally new perspective now that Jesus was in His life. The former concept John had of Heaven and the former concept John had of earth had passed away.

Before coming to know Jesus, John perhaps saw Heaven as a place where only God and the Angels lived. After coming to know and serve Jesus, John saw a New Heaven that was opened to all men and women through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, a Heaven where the dwelling of God is with the human race, a Heaven where the Angels and Saints worship together around God’s throne.

And before coming to know Jesus, John perhaps saw this Earth as a place filled with only sin and suffering and sickness and war, a place where joy and peace and health and happiness is a short-lived luxury of the few.

But after coming to know and serve Jesus, John saw a new earth, an earth where the Holy Gospel of Christ can turn sorrow into joy, can turn Crosses into Victories, can turn hardened sinners into fervent lovers of God and neighbor.

The one who sat on the throne said: “Behold, I make all things new.”

Jesus our Risen Lord has the power to make all things new and full of life. There is nothing so old or broken that Jesus cannot fix and make new – no old broken marriage Jesus cannot revive, no old sinful habit in us Jesus cannot conquer, no old broken state or country Jesus cannot mend,

But in order for Jesus to make all these things new for us, and in order for us to see Heaven and Earth with the new eyes of faith as John did, you and I must obey Jesus New Commandment which He gave us at the Last Supper: to Love one another as He has loved us.

We must have that Love and Respect for others in our hearts that Jesus had in His heart – a love and respect for the least of Christ’s brothers, the poor, the unwanted, an unselfish, unconditional love and desire to serve all who God brings our way, and a merciful, forgiving love towards those who hate or hurt us.

We also need to have a special love for those close friends of Jesus, the Saints. We need to love and honor the heroes and heroines of our faith as Jesus loves and honors them.

And finally, there is one human being we must love above all others, for Jesus loved her far more than any other creature God created: our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.

It is through this New Commandment of love that Jesus makes All things New.

I’m reminded of the life of St. John Vianney, the Parish Priest who died 150 years ago this year, which is why Pope Benedict declared this the Year for Priests.

Sent to a town where there was little love for God or neighbor, a town plagued by alcoholism, promiscuity, abandoned children, a town where no one went to Church on Sunday or prayed during the week, a town where children weren’t taught the basics of the faith.

But John Vianney from the start had a vision of a new Ars, where the taverns would go out of business for lack of clientelle, where the Church would be packed with townspeople on Sunday, a town where many young men and women would hear and say yes to a call to enter the seminary or the convent.

A town where children knew and valued their faith and said their prayers, where orphaned children were loved and educated.

And with that vision of a new Ars on Earth, John Vianney also had a vision of a new Heaven, filled with all these former sinners who he would turn to God.

In a land where there was no love, the Cure of Ars put love and in a few years he began to find love, his vision became a reality.

May we too have a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and by living fully that New Commandment may we see that vision become a reality.

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