Fourth Monday of Lent

Readings: Is 65: 17-21 / Ps 30: 2, 4-6. 11-12 / Jn 4: 43-54

The verses of today’s reading from Isaiah follow on a section that describes God’s righteous judgement: those who turned away from God, who did not answer God’s call and did evil will be punished; they will go hungry and thirsty and cry out in pain. And then comes this vision of the new heavens and new earth that God will make in a new (or renewed) act of creation: full of delight and gladness, without weeping, distress or pain, a world and a people that God will rejoice in, and that themselves will be joyful and a delight for each other. It is remarkable how this new creation is described in terms of aesthetic enjoyment, an overflowing of beauty and pleasure. We cannot situate this vision of a new creation full of joy and happiness precisely in time – it is imagined as something radically different from the world we live in now –, nor beyond time – after all, there will still be death, even if it is death at the end of a life fully lived.

While thus set in an undefined future and imagined as God’s new creation, this vision also challenges us today to think about what we can do to make this world, now, a place filled with joy and rejoicing, what we can do to make it possible that each person can live their life fully, where we can find beauty and how we can be a delight for each other?

Stefanie Knauss
Theology & Religious Studies