As I reflected on the Scripture readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I was drawn to the reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah was speaking to the people of Israel who were in exile and offered them hope with these words from the Lord:

“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

Isaiah poses the same question to us in the midst of our present reality, gives us hope, when after over two years, we continue to cope with restrictions and precautions in response to the COVID pandemic. His message offers a fragile hope to our sisters and brothers in war-torn Ukraine, where millions of people have left their country and wonder if and when they will ever be able to return.

“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

I believe God is always doing something new—within us and among us in the constant unfolding of creation. How would I answer the question Do you not perceive it?

Sometimes I am keenly aware of the “something new” that God is doing in our midst and at other times I barely notice it. I get stuck in my own thinking and judge the actions or inaction of others. What obstacles block my vision and impede progress? How about the times when I realize I am holding on to old hurts?

What do I need to let go of in order to perceive God’s presence more fully? What does it take for me to explore the possibility of something new, of doing something differently from the way I/we have always done it?

Isaiah’s words call us beyond ourselves. “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

If not, why not? I believe all of us need to answer the question for ourselves. What does it take for me to become part of something new? What must I do differently? What might I still need to let go of?

Isaiah’s message invites us to let go of the past, to be in the present moment, and to pay attention to absolutely everything. God will use every opportunity to attract our attention. Then, with open mind, open heart and open will, we can respond together with a resounding “Yes” to the “something new” that God is doing within and among us.  What a joyful day that will be!


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