Homily, Eastertide Sunday 5C
Life is a constant struggle, a constant struggle with boredom; at times, perhaps even now as I preach, life is a constant struggle just to stay awake. When life becomes routine, just the same old same old, just another year of school or another day at the office, and when the pursuit and even the attainment of our dreams leaves us yawning and asking, “Now what,” where can we find new life, new energy, new interest and purpose? Jesus tells us in our reading from Revelation, “Behold, I make all things new,” but do we really believe that? What is new life in Christ, and can it really bring us out of the slumps and ruts that we fall into, or do we try to find renewal by other means, through shopping, various forms of entertainment, or other habits?
There is an emptiness that we try to hide from. Many of us fill our lives with distractions to keep us from noticing this emptiness, to keep us from having to sit in silence and really address the deeper questions of life, of what it’s all about, why we spend our time and money where we spend it, and why true peace and satisfaction seems to always escape us, even as we reach the goals we set for ourselves, even as we attain the life and status that we thought we wanted. We are left always wanting more, and this seems to be the source of our restlessness. God has made us for himself. Human beings have infinite desires, desires that can never be truly satisfied with the pursuit of our own little aims and goals. A life lived merely for oneself is monotonous, uninteresting, ultimately unbearable.
Jesus always lived for others, to accomplish the will of his heavenly Father, “to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk. 19:10). St. Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians tells them how Jesus came to save us even from ourselves, from the monotony of our own pursuits. “[Christ] indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (5:15). This is the new commandment that Jesus gives us in today’s Gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you.” And how has Jesus loved us? One of the only passages of Scripture that I can quote by chapter and verse is Romans 5:8, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus loves us infinitely, unconditionally, even before we love him in return, even while we are still sinners. Christ loved and offered himself even for those who perhaps would never love him in return. This is the kind of love that the human heart longs for. This is the kind of love that gives meaning to our lives, and so Jesus calls us to share in this unconditional love, even for our enemies. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
And in this Eucharist, Jesus gives us all that we need to fulfill his new commandment, this invitation to living love. At the Last Supper, Jesus established the New Covenant in his own Blood, and he instituted a new priesthood to perpetuate his offering of himself to all generations. At every Mass, we receive the fire of God’s unconditional love, which enables us to love God and one another in the same way. The love of Jesus Christ is what makes all things new. God’s love and his plan for our lives is what frees us from the same old same old, from the boredom and emptiness of a life lived only for oneself. If we ever truly surrendered ourselves to God, our lives would never be the same.