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Waiting for the World to Change

First Reading: Acts 14:21-27

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.

Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5A

Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Gospel: John 13:31-33A, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

NAB

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Lately, it seems like suffering has split the world wide open and left it bleeding and raw. Overwhelmed, I want to close my computer and ignore anything that sounds like heartbreak for me, for my family and friends, for my countrymen and those with whom I share this planet.

My heart cries out for answers. Why, God, why is there so much suffering? Did you not promise to be our God and to always be with us?

He did promise that. He came here to live among us, and through His own terrible, painful suffering and the sacrifice of His life, He made a new way.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.

Although things are terrible now, they won’t always be this way. God didn’t create us for pain and suffering. God’s plan restores us to wholeness. He will wipe away our tears and bring in the new order—one where death doesn’t steal the ones we love. One where parents always get to hold their children. One where everything is made whole in the fullness of time.

There is hope, because He makes all things new.

So how shall we live until then, longing for that unbearably far away hope? Do we close our eyes and hold our breath? Do we build bunkers in our backyards and wait for the end? Do we keep to ourselves and let the world burn, turning a blind eye to the pain that surrounds us?

Jesus gave us the answer.

I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.

That’s it. We have a new commandment. He told us in no uncertain terms what to do. Until He comes again to wipe every tear from our eyes, we should be wiping one another’s tears. Bearing one another’s burdens. Loving one another as He has loved us.

We have the power right now to alleviate some of the great suffering in the world.

That’s what we do between now and then.
That’s how the world will know we are His.
That’s how we change the world.

Find one way this week to help lessen the suffering of someone else. If you need ideas, try looking at the list of the corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead, give alms to the poor. This Year of Mercy is a great time to start putting Jesus’ new commandment into practice.

photo credit

Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four while relying on coffee and grace. You can find out more about her here.

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