Walking in the Newness of Life: 5th Sunday of Easter

“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”                                                                                                        -Martin Luther

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“Behold, I make all things new (Rv 21:5).” Indeed, together with peace the greatest blessing of the Risen Lord is the everlasting and universal capacity for renewal. His resurrection has renewed creation and bestows on us the power to renew it again and again. When Jesus conquered death, He has not just suppressed its effect but moreover reversed its curse such that now the end of something can become the beginning of everything. Now, nothing is killed or ended definitively but everything can be the life-giving touch of God in our lives. By the death of the Eternal One, Christ has paid the price of everlasting renewal, such that everything can be turned to good, such that everyone of us can always have a happy future if we will choose it, no matter how great and many our sins are, no matter how our lives has been cast down.

“It is necessary for us to go many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22),” St Paul reminds us in the First Reading. The apostles were not disillusioned by the Resurrection that everything will turn out the way they wanted. But they were able to see the sufferings and trials of this life in a new way. Because of the resurrection, tragedies and sufferings us are bestowed with meaning and power to redeem. We saw the eagerness of the apostles in proclaiming this message everywhere, because the joy that comes from this new perspective in life, once we realized it is like a contagious fire that desires to be shared. Nothing is more expensive than a start, says Nietzsche, but for us Christ has paid the price. What we hold now is not just hope in the future but freedom from the frustrations of our past. We can always recreate the perception of our past if we will not be limited by our frustrations. We just need to be aware that we still have the same strength we had before to move on. We must forget the past that dissatisfies us. We just have to imagine a new life and believe in it by sourcing our strength on those moments in which we have attained what we desired. The light from the stars that once guided us can still bring us to further destinations even if we cannot see them in the darkness of the new night. Because of our Risen Lord, uncertainties now belong to the past and we now have the pen to rewrite our history.

Now, it would pay for us to reflect on the mystery of the “eternal childhood of God,” and let us go back on that first Easter when the Risen Lord walked with two of His disciples on the way to Emmaus, the two were crestfallen and burdened with the frustrations of what happened on the past, on that day which Jesus suffered and died, and the nonchalant response of the Risen Jesus was the question: “What sort of things? (Lk 24:19).” That question seems to imply that Jesus has fully moved on into the joy, freedom, and glory of the resurrection, into being the glorified child of the Eternal Father that it appears that He no longer dwells on the sufferings and tragedies He experienced before. God cannot be hampered by dark clouds on the horizon nor can He be weighed down by sorrowful memories. He walks in the eternal gift of the present, the embodiment of the beautiful quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

The challenge of the Gospel is for us to live in the eternal gift of the present. This is what is meant by living in the glorious freedom of the children of God. Because children have no past and the only thing that matters to them is the present moment. To walk in that newness of life, it is necessary for us to love like Christ did. For true love is always young. The love shown and commanded by Christ is like that, ever new, no frustrations of the past, no uncertainties of the future, just the joy of being together and surrendering to one another at the present moment.

There are moments when like the two disciples on Emmaus we will be distraught by the things that are happening around us and we will ask the Lord: “Are you the only one who does not know of the things that have happened to me? (Cf Lk 24:18)”. And He will amaze us with His questions: “What sort of things?” And He will then proceed to explain everything to us in light of all the sufferings and trials He passed through, affirming to us that the sufferings and tragedies of the present life are nothing compared to the glory that is to come when He will dwell with His people and “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain…(Rv 21:4).”

We may never be able to totally purge from our hearts the painful memory of our loss, but we can always find new joy in anything we achieved. Sadness cannot last forever as we walk on the path towards our deepest desire. Truly, hallelujah is our song for there is forever and we can only praise God there with the psalmist: “I will praise you forever, my king and my God.”

I would like to end with a verse from Kalidasa: “For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

1st Reading: Acts 14:21-27

Ps 145: 8-9. 10-11.12-13

2nd Reading: Rv 21:1-5a

Gospel: Jn 13:31-33a.34-35

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