Today’s readings present to us a message of hope, restoration and rejuvenation of life in what appears to be a difficult and lifeless situation.
The First Reading from the third part of Isaiah/Trito-Isaiah (cf. Is 65:17-21) bears a prophetic-apocalyptic imagery that holds forth future hope for a world in a hopeless and devastating situation. Put differently, we hear God through the prophecy of Isaiah foretelling the “creation of new heavens and a new earth.” What was the context of that passage? It was a post-exilic situation of the people of God. They returned from the Babylonian exile and were faced with a very difficult situation of rebuilding their destroyed land and the Temple, because everywhere was left in ruins. In that terrible situation, the Lord prophesied to them, reassuring them, bolstering their hope and trust in Him that He would create “new heavens and a new earth”. Here, the phrase “heavens and earth” was the Hebrew way of referring to the totality of the universe they knew. Literarily speaking, this prophecy was fulfilled in their days because they rebuilt their land and Temple, however, it got to its full fulfilment in the person of Christ.
A prophecy like this in the midst of difficulty; in a situation which appears to be a lifeless situation where the people were traumatized and left with zero hope for the future, was very necessary for strengthening the hope and faith of the people in God, and their corresponding need to always trust in God. This context was also similar to what we see in today’s Gospel Reading (cf. John 4:43-54). The Gospel presents a situation where Christ healed a court official’s son who was ill at the point of death in Capernaum. Put differently, Christ restored life and hope to a situation which looks like a lifeless one.
Faced with the issue of the pandemic of COVID-19 threatening our world and the Church, with thousands of deaths already, thousands of already infected ones, and lots of suspected cases, that everything appears to be in a state of confusion, hopelessness, panic, fear, loss of faith in God, Pastors, etc., our world needs to rely on the unfailing Word of God filled with messages capable of bolstering our hope, faith and trust in God. Dear friends in Christ, we are called to continually trust in Christ’s saving power offered to us through the Word and the Sacraments. The Lord tells us today that in this midst of this pandemic of COVID-19, in the midst of the fear, panic, and hopelessness, God wants to create something new; our Lord Jesus wants to heal our infected world at the point of death and restore our joy and happiness once again; and when this happens, our song of praise would be like that of Psalmist of the day [Ps 29(30):2,4-6,11-13]: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.”
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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