The Lord is Doing Something New for his People

04-07-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Julius Kundi

All the readings today seem to say to us: "Forget the past and push on into the future.” God's words to the Israelites in captivity through the Prophet seem to resonate all through the readings: "Remember not the events of the past; the things of long ago consider not. See I am doing something new! Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?" What is happening is that a way is being prepared for us all to return to our homeland and to a happier future.

Paul writes to the Philippians from prison, facing his own death, and he tells them, “I give no thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead.” This is apt and encouraging!

And when Jesus forgives the woman who is dragged before him in the Gospel story, he tells her, “Go your way and from now on avoid this sin.” In otherwise, Jesus invites her to a new relationship with Him and to a fresh start in life.

But how could any of them really forget the past? In the case of the Jewish people in exile, this experience was an important part of their history, second only to the exodus from Egypt and their journey through the desert which they explicitly remember each year when they celebrate the feast of Passover. Paul himself cannot forget his extraordinary encounter with God when he was knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus, an experience that resulted in his conversion.

Whatever our past experiences may be, the message today is clear to us, that when God forgives us our sins He expects us to begin to live a life of grace and union with Him. Jesus doesn’t say that sin does not matter because sin does matter and damages our relationship with God. What he is saying to us is that when we receive forgiveness he expects us to live as new people afterwards. When he says these words to us, he means them. He means that our negative past is dead and extinguished like a candle. So Christ will always fill us with laughter and Joy. This is what he will complete for us soon through his death and resurrection.

We live in a world that desperately needs something new. We need hope to push on to what is ahead, as Paul urges. Jesus is here to restore our hope, and give us every reason to continue living. This means that in spite of the difficulties of this present moment and season, the Lord will put a smile on our faces soon. Surely, he will do this because: “Weeping may endure at night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30, 5). So, there is hope because we are approaching our morning. Hence, we must be positive about the future as we approach the Paschal.

Like this woman, Jesus is always giving us new opportunities in spite of our weaknesses. He knows how vulnerable we are to sin. He knows the forces we contend with everyday in our life and society. His mission is to save us from all our personal sins and accusations. It is not to condemn us. Since He promises us a better future and a share in his glory if we remain faithful to this command, let us constantly run to Him irrespective of our situation.

Yes, "What marvels the Lord worked for us, indeed we were glad!”

Fr. Julius