Making Something New from the Old

Homily for Thursday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time

The Gospel parables for today speak of the master bringing forth both the new and the old from the storeroom. The prophet Jeremiah reports that God has decided to collapse the vessel Israel and to make it over again, much the same way a potter collapses his work and remolds the clay into something new. The vessel he originally fashioned has developed a crack, a flaw. So it is God’s intention to begin anew.

Jesus’ parable has an eschatological tenor to it. The angels are sorting the fish into those who are alive and those who are dead. Here it would be good to remember that in the Hebrew Scriptures, dead means being separated from God while live means being in relationship with God. The Gospel also gives the impression that God is not looking forward to the time when the dead will be discarded. God’s will is for all to live forever.

So the Scriptures speak today of transition, of change, of the most difficult change of all; namely, repentance. The original vessel had not pleased the potter because it had turned out badly. However, like any good potter, God was not about to waste the clay, God would simply fashion something new. That new creation is life in the Spirit which Jesus has imparted to us through his death and resurrection. Those who live in the Spirit are truly alive, truly a new creation.

With the psalmist today we sing, “Blessed the one whose hope is in the Lord.”

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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