Holy Land Pilgrimage

See, I Am Doing Something New

February 25, 2020

As we summited Mt. Bental, seeking a view of Mt. Hermon’s 9,000-foot snow-capped peak, the rolling mists obscured even the valley immediately below. Disappointed, we began to walk back to the bus, only to be delighted by a series of “junk sculptures” of fantastical dragon-creatures made from recycled scrap metal and military implements. We nicknamed one sculpture “the Ginosaur,” adopting the name of a local town which, to us, sounded like a breed of dinosaur. The artistic creations were a beautiful example of a recent theme from our pilgrimage: rebuilding on an existing foundation to create something new.

Many churches, such as the one commemorating the Multiplication of the Loaves in Galilee, are built on the foundations of earlier churches. These beautiful new churches are built with improvements in order to better serve the pilgrims who continue to travel to these holy sites. Indeed, when Jesus called his first disciples, he did not command them to abandon their boats and skills. Instead, he called them to put their boats and skills to new use as “fishers of men.”

As Fr. Kasule preached to us pilgrims when we visited St. Peter’s house in Capernaum, renunciation is really re-dedication. When we answer the Lord’s call, we put all we have at the service of his Kingdom. We do not leave behind the dreams and passions we had before his call, but we reinterpret these dreams and passions in order to channel these creative energies toward the proclamation of the Gospel.

This idea of re-dedication also surfaced as a theme during our recent retreat preparing us for deacon ordination. Like a wise master sculptor, the Lord begins with what we have – even our weaknesses – and molds them into something beautiful. He transforms the scrap metal of our lives into a multitude of sculptures. These beautiful new sculptures allow us to share Christ’s call of re-dedication with others. As others share with us their experiences of disappointments, we receive the opportunity to effectively beckon them to also come nearer to the Lord. This calling is for people in all walks of life, not just those preparing for ordination.

The Lord proclaimed to Isaiah (43:19): “See, I am doing something new.” If we let Him, especially during this new Lenten season, the Lord will reach out to reshape and transform us. We too are offered the same promise of being rededicated into something new and beautiful.

Michael Barbarossa
Archdiocese of Seattle

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