May 17, 2020
Did you hear the subtle shift of message in this week’s Gospel reading? For five weeks, our Sunday readings have focused on the joy of Easter; the awe and amazement of the resurrection, showing us, as Fr El said last week, just who God is – truly awesome and extraordinary.
Today, we turn a corner and ask, in light of the Easter miracle, who are we to become, and how are we to live as persons of the resurrection?
Our lives have been changed. The world has changed.
In those early days, surely some were asking: how do we just get back to what is /was normal? Yet, deep down, the disciples know that was the wrong question. Rather, how do we forge a new life for ourselves and for others in light of the change that has rocked the world: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection?
I don’t know about you, but these days I feel caught between these same two questions:
When and how can we all just get back to normal?
How do I forge a new path, a new way of thinking, a new way of being in a world that is totally different from what it was just two months ago?
I haven’t let go of what normal used to be, and I long for it, yearn for it:
But no, it’s clear I am called to change. We are called to change. Whether or not we get to do those normal things again, it seems that our future beckons us not just to return to normal, but to something new and different.
Problem is, right now we’re in the liminal time when basic answers are unavailable and unknowable? We don’t know the new normal yet. And so how do I respond? How do I behave? How do I think? How do I feel? Still learning. I am still learning . . .
The early Christians, and the original audience of John’s gospel, were in exactly the same boat, caught between the two questions:
Can we get back to normal? or
What is the new normal?
John’s two-fold response to the early Christians is also just what I need, what we need, today.
With love as our guide, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, like the disciples and the early Christians, we too are called to change. Yet we can take heart in our song for the day:
Be not afraid.
I go before you always
Come, follow me.
And I will give you rest.