Opening Our Minds to Christ

Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Member, Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our April 12th newsletter

Recently, in reading Pope Francis’ newest book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, I found his words full of hope and the possibilities of God’s unfolding future. In the midst of this seemingly endless pandemic and the pains to dispel racism and poverty, there are signs of hope in promoting change and the awareness for true equality, equity and working for the common good of all people.

One line in Francis’ book stood out for me. “A fruitful thought should always be unfinished in order to give space to subsequent development.” On a light note one might think that these words were found in a fortune cookie. However, for me, they go right to the heart of our readings for this Third Sunday of Easter. The fruitful thought of God’s resurrected love and Christ’s ongoing and revealing presence should always be unfinished to give us the room and the space for subsequent developments. We cannot, should not, look upon the revelation of God’s dynamic presence and the resurrected life of Christ as simply an historical event to be remembered and celebrated. Our God is not static!

Speaking of discernment and being open to the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis also wrote, “Tradition is not a museum, true religion is not a freezer, and doctrine is not static but grows and develops, like a tree that remains the same yet which gets bigger and bears ever more fruit. There are some who claim that God spoke once and for all time – almost always exclusively in the way and the form that those who make the claim know well.”

In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter was bold in holding the people and their leaders accountable for the death of Jesus. “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.” He acknowledged that their actions were the product of their own ignorance and their inability to see beyond what they believed and held to be true. We hear in both this reading from Acts and in the First Letter of John that repentance is always available if we are open to “knowing” the Christ and seeing God’s divine action unfolding. God’s mercy is not static!

Our gospel invites us to reflect on another post-resurrection event. The events of Christ’s appearances to his disciples and followers had to have been a tremendous paradigm shift in their understanding, their comprehension of faith and of God’s presence, Christ’s presence, beyond the limitations and boundaries of our human reality. Jesus’ words were calm and reassuring, “peace be with you,” “touch me and see,” “have you anything here to eat?” His words and invitation to the basic human gestures of touching and eating can be seen as ways in which he opened their minds to a new and different reality of divine presence and resurrected life. Christ’s presence is not static!

We live in a post-resurrection world. Alleluia! But are we living with a static and stayed notion of the teachings of scripture and the presence of God? We must take Pope Francis’ words to heart. “Tradition is not a museum, true religion is not a freezer, and doctrine is not static but grows and develops…” If we are open to God’s redeeming, merciful and unfolding ways then we must let go of old and bias attitudes and behaviors that limit our vision and judgment of people based on their religious beliefs, their skin color, facial features, country of origin and sexual orientation. We cannot be static!

Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on April 13, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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