We have no idea. Sometimes when I put the Gospels down after reading and praying over them, that is what I find myself thinking. Just shaking my head in wonder and thinking, we have no idea.
In the pages of the Gospels and in the stories of the early Church, we are given this beautiful sense that something new and amazing has broken into the world and into people’s lives. Something is happening and they do not know what it is.
How many stories about Jesus end with words like this: “They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’ ”
The encounter with Jesus makes all things new. The first Christians awaited what they called the new heavens and a new earth. They believed that they themselves had been made a “new creation.”
They also felt that things were in process, that the “newness” brought by Christ was ongoing, continuing to unfold. “Beloved, we are God’s children now,” St. John wrote. “What we shall be has not yet been revealed.”
This is the soil that living faith grows from. It is the awareness that life is one and that our lives are part of this great mystery of creation, and that all that is created is alive and connected in the one Creator.
This is the joyful inspiration behind our annual OneLife LA celebration.
This weekend, on Jan. 20, we will hold our fourth OneLife LA procession and festival in downtown Los Angeles.
To be honest, when we started OneLife LA, I was not sure how people would respond. We are accustomed to holding public demonstrations to protest things that are wrong. This will always be important. One way we stand up for what is right is by standing up against what is wrong. One way we show people what we are “for” is by showing them what we are “against.”
We must keep doing that — especially with regards to abortion, which for too long has been an “everyday evil” in this country and, indeed, in every country.
As Pope Francis said in his New Year’s address to diplomats in Rome, we must defend “the right of every person to life.” We need to continue in this struggle for life. As the pope said, we can never accept a world where there are “innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults.”
In the service of this great cause, we wanted OneLife LA to be something different.
We wanted this to be a day when we remind people why life is sacred and precious. We wanted to celebrate the dignity and beauty, even the glory of human life as created by God and made new and greater in Jesus Christ.
Our theme for this year’s celebration is “Made for Greater.” And really, that has been the vision of OneLife LA from the start.
“The book of nature is one and indivisible,” Pope Benedict XVI said in words quoted by Pope Francis in “Laudato Si.”
The cause of life is about more than political change. The cause of life is about the nature of things and the beauty and purpose of the world.
We are working for the kingdom, for the new heavens and a new earth.
In order to accomplish our mission, we need to help our society see the “connections,” the ties that can never be broken between the Creator and every aspect of his creation.
We need to help our neighbors to see that every creature has a purpose in God’s creation, that all things speak to us of God, and the Creator is reflected in everything he creates — and especially in the human person made in his image and likeness.
Jesus promised his disciples, “You will see greater things.”
And each one of us — and everything we see in creation — is “made for greater.” St. Paul said that all of creation will be set free and will share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
And again, we return to this awareness that we “have no idea.”
And it is true. St. Paul said we have not seen anything yet, that we have no idea what God has prepared for those who love him. So we continue on this journey of love, seeking the greater things that we are promised and made for.
Pray for me this week and I will be praying for you. And please join me on Saturday for OneLife LA. Together, let us praise God and celebrate the beauty and holiness of human life and creation.
May our Blessed Mother Mary, the Queen of All Creation, help our society to a new awareness of these greater things and the precious love that God has for every life.