Newness excites us. New clothes, new shoes, a new phone, new sofa, new car or new house, new ideas, new experiences and above all new life, all lift our spirits. The opposite can be true as well: though familiar things have their attractions, when we notice them getting old and shabby that can be a bit depressing, perhaps because it reminds us that we too will get older and that one day we will die.
Our liturgy this weekend is all about newness: the new life that God gives us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the new life that was passed on to us at our baptism, and that we have just commemorated in our celebration of Holy Week and Easter.
In the opening prayer of the Mass we ask God to accomplish the Paschal Mystery in us so that those he has made new in Baptism may bear much fruit and come to the joys of eternal life.
The first reading records that Paul and Barnabas put fresh heart into the disciples, telling them how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans, bringing a new hope that made them all rejoice.
The author of the Book of Revelation tells of the vision he received of a new heaven and a new earth, and the new Jerusalem, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband, and of the One who sat on the throne saying ‘Now, I am making the whole of creation new’.
In the Gospel Jesus speaks of the glory that is going to come very soon, but he also reminds us that this newness of life can begin now, in a new way of relating to one another: I give you a new commandment – love one another as I have loved you.
Finally, the prayer after communion asks the Lord to be graciously present to his people and to lead us from former ways to newness of life.
The newness we can buy is short lived: the clothes will wear out, the gadgets will become obsolete, the house will need decorating, but let’s be on the lookout this week for the doors the Lord is opening for us, the areas in which he’s calling us to grow, the people he gives us to love, the ways in which he wants to make us new.