We know the journey to resurrection is filled with all kinds of crosses that we must bear. The trials and tribulations are the way we learn and grow as human beings. It is through our errors, mistakes and missteps that we understand ourselves and the world a bit better. We just don’t like it and would rather avoid the problems (or deny them)—missing the point of life and death and resurrection…
I read where someone retired said, “The best thing about growing old is you don't have to feel the need to impress anyone anymore.” I've seen that happen marriage, at work and in the ministry, but the same should be said for any time of our lives. People as they age no longer need to worry about meeting the right people and saying the right things and being in the right places. They're free now to be their authentic selves under God's grace. We Christians really should live this way all the time—no matter what our ages—because the one who really counts is our loving Father, our God. We should be what He wants us to be: genuine, authentic creations, our best selves, responding in any and all situations the way He would want us to respond. St. Paul says that those in Christ are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means that by our baptisms the old way of doing things has gone—and with it, old value systems and ways we lived before—and the new has come!
St. John writes about a new heaven but also a new earth. I believe that is our responsibility in the here and the now. In the First Reading we hear a piece of the mission story and travels of Paul and Barnabas. It ends with them reporting what God had done with them in their ministry, not what they had done for God. God uses them [and us] in His plan of salvation.
In knowing that we are part of God’s plan, and that God makes all things new, we may be carried through the days of our lives when our many crosses may become difficult to bear. St. Paul today encourages us to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” I find comfort in the times we must emulate Christ in the face of trouble, in the face of difficult and disappointing people who are hard to love, in the face of fear, anxiety and chaos. I find comfort in these words when I fail miserably at the goals I have set for myself. I need to remember that it is in God that I am made new in order to be able to face my crosses, my everyday challenges, my life and my death.
In the Gospel today we are also told to emulate Jesus in love, “As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.” We understand we must emulate Him in the carrying of our crosses, too.
God makes all things new every day, every moment in our lives, and even in all of the many and frequent deaths we experience. That is comfort for our journey. We should live in the joy of resurrection every day, every moment. This Easter Season He gives us the chance to be better when our crosses make us fall. Let God make you new.