[I spent some time in the new creation yesterday. Enjoy by clicking for larger view.]
by Isaiah (65:17-21) proclaims a new creation. God will make all things new. The people will have shelter and food and health care and education. Rejoicing shall replace misery and weeping. A rather idyllic promise. Yet this is the stuff of faith.
Our goal is contemplation = union with God. When we are hungry and homeless, when we are in prison or in illness, it is harder to be in union with God even though God is present to us in all we experience. Isaiah gives us hope. We are not permitted to despair.
Merton says that despair is the ultimate expression of the false self. We despair because things are not the way WE want them to be. We despair in peace and justice work because of the glaring inequities between the haves and the have nots. We despair when we see people refusing to alleviate human misery. We despair when we see people amassing wealth on the backs of others.
Isaiah and Jesus tell us that despair is not an option for the believer. We live in union with the Living God who is making all things new. It is God’s presence and power that renews the face of the earth. In faith, we live in the present moment in union with our loving Abba God. We know that all will be well. The Psalmist assures us that God will rescue us. In the end, the rich and powerful, the haughty and the unjust, sin and death will not prevail. The Creator will prevail as God makes all things new. Justice will restore right order and all will be well.
John (4:43-54) has Jesus returning to Cana to perform his second sign—healing the son of the royal official. Some speculate that the royal official was a pagan. Raymond Brown discounts this. He was probably a wealthy Jew who was a member of the ruling class. If so, the implication is clear. Jesus does not make decisions based on class. Jesus did not say, “Go away. You are one of the rich people and I am campaigning against inordinate wealth.” He had compassion and told him, “Go, your son will be healed.” He was concerned with the well being of people regardless of social status.
The synoptic Gospels introduce Elijah and Elisha type miracles to show the power of Jesus. John speaks instead of signs. Members of the Jesus Seminar and others pooh pooh the reality of miracles then and now. Francis and Judith McNutt attest to the person, power, and presence of the Risen Jesus today. Jesus has ushered in the reign of God. All things will be made new. All tears will be wiped away as Revelation echoes Isaiah.
There is power in the Easter experience. There is the power to heal, to prophecy, to teach, etc…The Spirit gifts us with charisms according to our need so that we might use the power of the Risen Jesus to advance the kin-dom. We live in union with the Risen Jesus. We share in his power. Paul reminds us that we are the Risen Jesus. I do not know what the members of the Jesus Seminar have seen but I have seen the power of God manifest in healings.
We must move beyond an individualistic concept of healing—which is a reality—to recognize that Jesus also heals the social structures that bind. Jesus came to liberate captives and to set the oppressed free. He came to give sigh to the blind. He came to proclaim a Year of Jubilee which will reorder all things. Living in the person, power and presence of the Risen Jesus we live in hope and we strive to heal unjust structures which bind and oppress.