COMMON OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel.
In the 1980s, the Vatican embarked on a massive project to restore the ceiling painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. It took more than a decade, but when it was completed, the colors that had been dulled with centuries of dust, dirt, and soot shined brilliantly again. If you look at before and after images, the difference is stunning.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Amos promises an even more dramatic restoration. The people’s sins of idolatry and injustice had resulted in military defeat and ruined cities. But God promises to bring Israel back to the glory it had under King David. Hundreds of years later, Christians would see this prophecy being fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of David (Acts 15:15-17).
As we look at the long arc of salvation history, we can see that God is in the business of restoration. Like the art restorer, God saw the dirt and grime that had accumulated on his creation. But instead of giving up on us, he sent his Son to take on our sin. Now, through Jesus, he cleanses us so that he can bring back the brilliance that we once possessed before the fall of Adam.
Restoration: it’s a beautiful word filled with hope. It means that nothing and no one is too far gone for the Lord. Even when we are damaged by life’s trials or by patterns of sin, even when our relationships are broken and we see no hope, even when we have lost our loved ones, God promises restoration. Through Jesus, he will heal our wounds, heal our relationships, and eventually reunite us with our loved ones. That is, and has always been, his plan for us.
The people who heard Amos proclaim these words never saw them come to fruition in their lifetime. Perhaps we won’t see everything we yearn to be restored happen in our lifetime either. But God doesn’t make promises he doesn’t keep. One day, in his perfect timing, he will make all things new again (Revelation 21:5).
“Father, bring about your restoration in me.”