In the middle of Lent the Church offers in today’s first reading, Isaiah 65: 17-21, a message of hope: “I am about to create a new heaven and a new earth.” This seems so out of place in Lent.
But it is a message I needed to hear.
Yesterday, coming back from San Agustín with Padre German, we encountered cars stopped on the dirt road outside Caleras.
A man had been killed and his body lay in the middle of the road, a puddle of blood by his neck.
The police were there, keeping people away, and waiting for the fiscal – the public prosecutor – to come and verify the facts of the death.
We approached and looked on the dead man and then left to get to town by another route.
I was left with a great sadness – another person killed, another family grieving.
But Isaiah promises that in the new Jerusalem, “No longer shall be heard the sound of weeping or the cry of distress.”
That is the promise I needed to hear. A promise – but also a task for us here, and everywhere in the world where there is death and pain and suffering: to offer a word of hope.