Reading 1 Is 65:17-21 (from usccb.org)
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
God answers our perennial question – “why is there suffering, sickness, and death?” – many times in Scripture. In Genesis 1-2, God revealed the perfect world He created, culminating in the creation of the human person in His own image and likeness to share in His happiness, love, and His creative work. In Genesis 3, everything changed. Adam and Eve rejected God and His will, thus denying themselves their highest good. Sin entered the world and all the disorder and damage that ensues from it. St. Paul describes in his letter to the Romans that all of creation suffers as a consequence of sin. However, he also offers words of hope that creation too will one day be restored to the fullness of God’s will just like the human person who accepts redemption by Christ.(read Romans 8:18-39 )
Isaiah prophesied that when the savior came, justice would be restored and God’s abundant mercy and generosity would return. Sin robs people, but grace rectifies the wrongs and gives beyond what we deserve. We will have life and then some. We will have the fruits of our own labor and keep the houses we have built, and more. In fact, as Isaiah (64:3) and St. Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9) proclaim of heaven, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has ready for those who love Him.
Scripture reminds us that earth is not heaven, but thanks to Jesus Christ death is not the end, only the entrance in to the fullness of life that He intended if we choose Him. This life is short, but eternity is long. This short time is one meant for transformation in Christ and growing our love for God. As difficult as suffering and uncertainty about our daily life can be, it’s often the way in which we realize what truly matters and Who our true savior is. God does see our suffering. He isn’t the one who causes it, but He is the one who comforts us in it.
~ Written by Angela Jendro © 2020