Easter 5th Sunday – CO-CREATORS
Easter 5th Sunday
Acts 14: 21b-27 Rev. 21: 1-5 Jn. 13: 31-33a, 34-35
Practising the sacrificial love of Christ is the way to create the new earth and the new heaven here and now.
New Heaven and New Earth
A story is said about two aliens who visited the earth. They went from place to place, visiting the marvels of the earth. In a particular place, there was a celebration going on and a soldier was honoured for his bravery. On enquiry, they got the answer that he had killed about 50 people singlehandedly in a war. As they went further, they happened to witness a man who was about to be hanged. They were told that he had killed two persons in a feud. The aliens were puzzled and one told the other, “It is very difficult to understand what happens here. When one kills fifty, he is honoured, while for killing just two, one is punished. May be the law here is that the more one kills, the more one is honoured.”
We are living in a world that is infested with violence, brutality, atrocities, destruction and corruption. Most of the times, unfortunately, violence is perpetrated by those who are supposed to oppose it. It is a sick world. It looks as if the whole world is charged with negativity. All of us are disgusted and disillusioned with the present world. Though many of us bemoan and murmur about the present state of life, we don’t seem to do much to change it.
In the second reading, we see God saying, “Look! I am making the whole of creation new.” This verse seems to inform us that even God is disgusted with all the negativity of the world. He too might bemoan that the world today is not what He created. It is much away from what He wanted it to be. So God is interested and intended in renewing the world. We need to understand that the new heaven and the new earth St. John talks about are not something totally divested of this world. They emerge when the world in which we live is renewed. The possibility of the new earth and the new heaven is here and now. It will become a reality when the whole creation, including ourselves, is renewed. That is what God wants to do. In fact, new earth is in no way different from new heaven. When the earth becomes new, it automatically begins to be a heaven. It is the human-spoiled earth that has lost its celestial nature.
It is not enough that God wants to renew everything. Our co-operation is of utmost importance. We need to be extension of God’s hands here on earth. In the first reading, we see Barnaba and Paul completing their first missionary journey. They untiringly worked hard, put up with a lot of hardship, preached the message of Christ… all for only one purpose – to renew everything in Christ (Cfr. 2Cor. 5: 17). This renewed state of creation is called the Kingdom of God, and St. Paul says, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Creating the New Earth:
God, besides inviting us to be His partners in renewing the creation, has given us a tool to help us in this regard. The tool is nothing but love. In the gospel, Jesus speaks of the New Commandment: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” In fact, Jesus’ invitation to love (“love one another”) was not something new at all. The essence of all the Old Testament laws was precisely love. What is new in the commandment of Jesus is the focus on his sacrificial love – “just as I have loved you.” It is the sacrificial love alone that can renew us, the people around, and the whole creation.
Solon, a Greek thinker, once was standing in a market place with a rotten apple in his hand. He asked the by-passers whether the rotten apple was of any use. All shrugged off their shoulders and answered in the negative. There was one person, observing this strange behaviour of Solon, came to him and asked him, “Why do you ask this obvious question to others? Everyone knows that a rotten apple is of no use at all.” Solon answered, “No! Not at all. You are wrong. Though the fleshy part of apple is rotten, its seeds are intact and healthy. If we nurture them properly, then we will get plenty of healthy apple trees and sweet fruits.”
May be today’s society is like a rotten apple. At times, it looks like that it is so rotten that is beyond any redemption. However all of us have got seeds with which we can create better societies. The seed in our hand is nothing but sacrificial love. Let us discover that seed, nurture it, allow it to grow and bear fruit.