All things new
What does “Making all things new” mean?
How many have ever slowed down enough to ask what is this “new thing” that God is making? We quickly label it the Kingdom of God.
Having labeled it, I fear that most times we make the same mistake as was made in the Old Testament and again in the New Testament. We see the longing for the kingdom understood as some idealized utopia of our own projection. The assumption is that there will be no more tears or weeping, no one will have to work at maturing.
Today we are the people with palm branches shouting “Hosanna” to the King who is going to clean up society. And that society, without realizing it, is going to be a society “made in our own image and likeness”. It will have all the trappings of the best kingdoms they knew… or rather fantasized.
Who is making all things new?
And how was this new kingdom going to come into existence? I suspect that many thought it was just going to happen by some kind of magic. While they were not consciously looking for a magic wand, I suspect that they… and we… were looking for someone to set up a comfortable house in which everyone could live… rent-free. We wouldn’t have to do anything other than move in and enjoy. We would never have to think about or much less struggle with the baggage of our self-centeredness which would fill the house.
Jesus’ view of all things new
Jesus’ view of the kingdom is a kingdom in which we really recognize that we are, each and every one of us, aware of being sons and daughters of a truly loving and generous God. We are amazed at the love God has for us! We do not fear God. We hunger for God!
Jesus’ view of the kingdom is a kingdom where we gradually wake up to understanding that if we are sons and daughters of God then we are brothers and sisters who care for one another as our God does.
Conversion to live in this kingdom
But Jesus was a realist. He clearly knew of our fundamental tendencies to be self-centered and “me-first”. (Anyone hear the echoes of “original sin”?) He knew we needed to mature and grow into that kingdom.
So that is why he called for us to “repent” and “change our way of thinking.” God knew we needed wake up to this marvelous gift of love. God knew we needed to change our way of thinking about God as a ruler who would take care of everything for us while we lounged around the pool oblivious of the struggles of our sisters and brothers.
Vincent de Paul as “cooperator” in “making all things new”
Vincent’s Understanding of the Kingdom
St. Vincent did not always have a clear focus on God’s kingdom. It was only in his mid-thirties that he began to see the outlines of God’s kingdom.
Most visitors to this site know that he became a changed man as he began to really understand that we were all sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, even the despised and forgotten least among us.
He finally began to see what Jesus described in the pages of scripture. Not only did he begin to “see” more clearly but he began to live the scripture making connections between what was in those pages and what he saw in life around him.
Vincent’s cooperation in “making all things new”
He then began to do what he could as he came to understand the layers of suffering and inequality.
One step at a time he did things that helped people wake and live as brothers and sisters.
Imagining the Kingdom
- What is my image of this new thing?
- What is my role in making all things new?
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk