The words ‘new’ and ‘hope’ have potential to fill the human mind and heart with peace, excitement and joy. We anticipate the ‘new’ being somewhat better than the present or the past. What new thing do you now wait for in your life?
During this third time of lockdown, people are joyful because they hope that new life lies ahead with the vaccine. In anticipation of that new life, obstacles arise with some vaccines. Presently, the medical teams prudently stall one of the proposed vaccines. Meanwhile, citizens remain hopeful of better days ahead as they live with uncertainty. They wait for the new normal to give some stability to their lives.
The reading proclaimed at Mass today from the prophet Isaiah (Is 65:17-21), hears the Lord say that he will ‘create new heavens and a new earth.’ The Lord says the people will leave the past behind. For this reason, the people can ‘be glad and rejoice.’ Why is that? Because God will care for his people now and forever.
In faith, we believe that God sent Jesus to share the good news of his love in this life and in eternal life.
The Lord creates Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ There is hope for the people as ‘they will build houses, inhabit them, plant vineyards, and eat fruit.’ These are signs of God’s presence for eternal life.
God also wants the faithful today to leave the past behind and to keep their eyes fixed on God and on his unconditional love for them. God desires we share that love with our neighbour.
The response to the Psalm (Ps 29:2) is one of praise. The psalmist is thankful because he recognises that God rescues him. The assembly of people respond with joy in their hearts, ‘I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.’ The psalmist promises God, ‘O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.’ Can we say these words and really mean them?
Today we too as followers of Jesus believe that God saves us from our sins. We thank him with all our heart. We pray to God and share his love.
The Gospel according to John (Jn 4: 3-54), continues on the note of joy. Rejected in his hometown, Jesus moves forward to Galilee. The Galileans received him well because they saw all that he did in Jerusalem during the festival. Jesus came to Cana, where he performed his first miracle, when he turned water into wine.
This time an official came to Jesus and asked him to cure his son who was ill. Jesus remarked that the people would not believe unless they saw ‘signs and portents.’ Jesus told the official to ‘go home’ and told him his son would live. The man believed Jesus’ words and went off home. On his way, he met many people who ran towards him to tell him the good news. They told him his boy was alive. The man asked what time the boy began to recover. They told him ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised this was the exact time that Jesus told him his son would live.
Today, God’s people reflect on their life of faith with God. Do I believe because I have faith in God? Am I waiting for signs to help me believe? At Baptism, the one baptised receives the gift of faith. In faith, the baptised respond to God’s love. We pray for the gift of faith to stay alive in our hearts. Prayer and the sacramental life nourish our faith in God.
VERITAS publications provide the free online resources from the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Religious Education programme. These resources including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books cover themes related to faith, hope and love for each class standard.
- Pray the Act of Faith/ Cré na nAspal
- Using your Rosary beads pray the second decade of the Mystery of Light, The Wedding at Cana by saying Our Father, Hail Mary (X10) and Glory be to the Father.
- From your Bible or from your Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé book read what St Paul says about Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
- From your Bible read the story of the Wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-12)
- You might visit your parish church with your family. Look for the Baptismal font. Chat about your Baptism. Thank God for the gift of faith. What else do you notice in the Church?
- Why do you think the Pope called the Church ‘a family of families’?
Sr Anne Neylon