Posted by: dowsmallgroups | 23/04/2010

Spring – a fresh start

In the Rite of Baptism, as the child is clothed in a white garment, the celebrant says: ‘you have become a new creation,’ after the child is anointed with the oil of chrism, the celebrant says: ‘[God has] given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit’. This change in state, what we refer to as renewal, is the promise of a new start, something fresh and uplifting, something empowering and cleansing. In the New Testament (note the name!) we see frequent references to the freshness and newness of Jesus. ‘There is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This newness is rooted, however, in a tradition centuries old. As St. John wrote in his first letter:

‘Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning… the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining’ (1 John 2:7-8).

St. John’s gospel itself contains streams of references to what has gone before. Indeed, the first words of his account of Jesus’ Good News are the first words of Genesis. Where God breathed life into man so Jesus breathed on the apostles, readying them for ministry (Genesis 2:7; John 20:22); where God provided Moses with the Decalogue – the Ten Commandments – so Jesus shows us what they mean (Exodus 20:1-21; John 13:34).

Jesus is the culmination of all that was prophesied in the Old Testament. He gives a fuller, newer meaning to all that has gone before. Through Mary’s gift of herself to bring Jesus into the world, by his life, passion, death and resurrection, we have a fresh start. I suppose that all of this requires that we should ask ourselves each day whether or not we live as if liberated from sin, as if we are, as St. Paul writes, a ‘new creation’?

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