GOD’S NEW THING: HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (YEAR C) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

Do something new in my life 

something new in my life

something new in my life

Oh Lord!

Something new

We are constantly in search of NEW THINGS. This is seen almost everywhere and in every area of life. We even make it some sort of greeting when we ask others “what’s new?” Of course there is some sort of obsession that follows something new, It could be a new phone, a new car, a new house, a new set of clothing, a new direction, a new relationship, a new job, a new location, and so many other new things that could appeal to us.

There seems to be an unwritten script within us that assures us that the new is better than the old. However, there are many instances where the old proved to be better than the new. What is very important actually is where the new thing is coming from and where it will be leading to. The origin and destination determines its utility and stability. Today we are reflecting on God’s NEW THING for us!

The Readings today, especially the Second Reading (Rev. 21:1-5) and the Gospel Reading (John 13:31-33a.34-35), took up this theme of NEWNESS in some interesting ways. The First Reading (Acts 14:21b-27), while not making it explicit, anticipated a new community of Christians in Antioch borne out of tribulations and built on faith.

Like we established from the opening song, God is set to do something new in our lives. It is actually in the character of God to make all things new as John told us in the Book of Revelation (21:5a). If we go back to the oracle of the prophet Isaiah (43:19) God said: “Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already- you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there”.

If God is bringing something new and productive, it means that there is something old and useless that need to be replaced in our lives. From the Revelation of John, he mentioned that he saw a new heaven and a new earth as the first of these had passed away. Upon the exit of the old comes the new. In this new dispensation, God will dwell with His people and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, death shall be no more neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain.

Most biblical scholars would argue that John was talking about the end of time after the tribulations, but it does not destroy nor reduce its application to our lives in our day and context. There is no doubt that most of us are in tears brought about by some diminishing internal and external factors. Most of us may be torn apart by so many contending issues that have left us in pains and perhaps in mourning.

In the midst of all the above and more, God is telling us that there is hope for something new to happen in our lives. You may be facing contending financial, family and relationship, job and career issues, and so many others. All of these may have also rendered you helpless, broken, dissipated and old. It is at this point that God is bringing something new for you. Do you really believe that this will happen?

The Gospel Reading tells us about something new given to us by God which is at the same time a commandment; that is love. We cannot get tired of talking about love because we cannot get tired of talking about God as we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). The Gospel today presents one of those penultimate moments trailing the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, Love is the theme of his instruction and that was after he washed the feet of the apostles. Here he made it clear that he was giving the disciples a new commandment which consist in loving one another as he loved them.

The point that is very striking here is the mention of: “a new commandment”. When we hear about commandment our minds will naturally run to the ten commandments that God gave to the people of Israel through Moses in the Book of Exodus (20:1-17). Now a commandment has a binding force behind it. It is different from a suggestion or a mere instruction. That something is a commandment means that the thing in question need to be done and failure not to do so attracts punishment. A commandment goes with a grave obligation.

From the foregoing, it is instructive then that our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples and indeed all of us that we must love one another or we run the risk of offending God. Furthermore, the love we owe one another is not based on any condition nor is it limited. In the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ he said: “love one another as I loved you”. No condition or limitation is envisaged in this command.

Next and more significantly, we must love one another as he loved us (not as we love ourselves). This is what really makes this instruction NEW and normative. Already, the instruction to love one’s neighbour as oneself was  known from the time of Moses (Leviticus 19:18).

Today, we generally encounter God’s NEW SCRIPT for us. For you then to receive God’s NEW THING there is need for you to be NEW yourself. Our expectation to have new realities in our lives may be hindered by our OLD SELVES. It is based on this that our Lord Jesus Christ instructed that new wine should be poured in to new wine skin otherwise the skin will burst and the wine will pour away (Matt. 9:17). St. Paul went further to tell us that if anyone is in Christ he has become a new creation, old things have passed away; all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

Do you want God to bring about NEW THINGS in your life as His words assured us today? Do you want those situations in your life to change from the OLD to the NEW? Do you want those tears to change to thanks, do you look forward for those mourning periods to be turned into merriment periods. Do you want God’s NEW THINGS to replace the OLD THINGS in your life. If you expect these to happen then make room for them by allowing the NEW COMMANDMENT of love to define your life.

You allow the NEW COMMANDMENT to define your life when you forgive those who have wronged you most passionately as our Lord did on the cross (Luke 23:34). You allow the NEW COMMANDMENT to define your life when you return good for evil (Matt.5: 38-42). You allow the NEW COMMANDMENT to define your life when you are able to let go and let God. You allow the NEW COMMANDMENT to define your life when you forfeit fear and adopt strong faith in God in the face of those trials and tribulations (Heb. 11:1ff). Yes! Tears may tarry in the night but joys comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5).

As we launch into the fifth week of Easter we are called upon to look forward to the NEW THINGS God is graciously bringing into our lives by paying attention to His new commandment of love. The apostle Paul made it clear to us that love conquers and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7). This means that when love rules old things will give way and new things will emerge and flourish in our lives.

Have a blissful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead.

Fr. Bonnie

 

 

2 Comments on “GOD’S NEW THING: HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (YEAR C) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

  1. Thank you Padre for this homily. May God strenghten you the more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: