And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
As our time of COVID19 quarantine continues, the vision of a post-COVID19 world becomes more and more a mystery. While we hear that people are anxious to get back to normal, there seems to be a consensus that what awaits is a “new normal”, one that has not yet become clear. Hope is essential in the face of this unknown.
Like that of His disciples, our Christian hope comes first and foremost from our intimate relationship with Jesus. It is the hope that God’s will be done. God’s will is, of course, for us to be united to Him, so our primary concern is for the salvation of souls. Our hope for this is in Jesus, and we do not hope in vain.
Our Lady of Fatima came to remind us of this hope, and we do well to pay attention to her message today. She warns us of our need for repentance, to turn away from our sins and be open to receiving God’s mercy. She also asks us to pray, not just for our own salvation, but for the salvation of others, those “most in need of God’s mercy”. Now is not a time to be judgmental of others, but rather to humbly recognize that we are all in need of mercy.
Trusting in God’s mercy, we can look with great hope to our post-COVID19 world. It will look different. It should look different – more like the kingdom of God if we heed the call of Our Lady. Having been saved from the power of sin and darkness, we should be able, with God’s grace, to “make all things new.” The old systems and structures are proving useless and falling away. Nature abhors a vacuum. It will be our responsibility to rebuild society – civil, economic, political – as God would have it rebuilt, consistent with the Gospel. Love God, love your neighbor. These are our marching orders. Prayerful discernment will guide us in our actions in bringing about the kingdom of God on earth.
I cling to the imperative of St. Pope John Paul II, who credited Our Lady of Fatima for steering the bullet meant to kill him away from his vital organs and saving his life, to ”Be not afraid!” In his Urbi et Orbi message, Pope Francis reaffirmed this message, imploring us to trust in the Lord and to be assured that Jesus is in the boat with us. Let us look to the future with hope! “Behold, I am making all things new!”
Carmina Chapp, Ph.D. is Program Director of Online Theology Programs at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.