By Fr Michael Knight SVD
Have you heard the story about God’s original problem.. ??
At the time of creation God wanted to know where to conceal his most precious possession, God’s own image. He called three of his wisest angels to a discernment.
One angel said, “Put your image on the highest mountain on earth, no-one will find it there.
But God knew that one day people would climb Mt Everest so he said “No, that won’t do”.
The second angel said, “Hide it down in the depths of the sea”. But God knew that one day people would invent the submarine, so he said, “No that won’t do”.
The third angel said, “Lord, you could hide it on the far side of the moon, surely no one will every find it there”? But God knew that one day people would reach the moon in space-ships so he said again, “No that also won’t do”.
Then God had his own idea, “I will put it in the hearts of our people, perhaps no-one will ever find it there”.
If someone was to ask you as to where the image of God could be found, would you realise that it is firstly within your own heart and also in the hearts of others.
This is really GOOD NEWS!!
It is an aspect of human nature that what is most obvious is often overlooked or forgotten in the heat of the moment.
It is also a great paradox of human life that we do find the image of God, that bright light of Easter if we embrace the darkness of the cross. This is the mystery of our Christian faith.
The cross has two meanings, one on the surface and one that is hidden underneath.
On the surface, the cross represents weakness, helplessness, pain, suffering and death.
At the time of Jesus’ death the apostles thought all was lost. However, it is from that place that Jesus is raised up to a new way of life. So now in the light of the Holy Spirit we know the cross is the pathway to real grace and strength.
If we have a certain weakness and deny this, the weakness will continue to control us.
- Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Someone consumed with pride, jealousy, envy.
- Someone who engages in gossiping, theft, lying or adultery.
But when we get down on our knees and accept the weakness and hand it over to the grace of God, it becomes a source of grace and blessing and new life for ourselves and others.
That is why Paul says, “It is in my weakness, that I am strong’. Paul preached this GOOD NEWS to others.
Like Paul we are all given a similar mission, not only about coming to terms with ourselves as Paul had to, but in reaching out to others.
When Jesus comes to live in our hearts he never comes alone; he brings with him the poor, the outcasts, the unwanted and the marginalized.
We can’t take Jesus in and leave the rest outside. When we let Jesus in, anyone in need has to come in with him. We may pay a price for that, which again is the cross, but from that cross new life will come both for them and for us.
Embrace the cross, find new Easter life and reach out to others.
A good question to ask oneself is: “How do I know that I have come out of the darkness into the light’?
I believe that it is true to say that there are 3 kinds of people in my life ….
The close friends ... may be very few in number
Acquaintances and colleagues at work … a bigger group
Then there is a third group comprising those with whom I don’t get along, those who annoy and irritate me, those who always seem to rub me the wrong way. This can be the most challenging group, especially if I hang in there and try to make it better.
A test as whether I am now living in the light or am still in the darkness lies in how I deal with this third group of people. This again is the cross hidden within the possibility of new life and resurrection.
Well, I have found that the risen Jesus calls me to keep reaching out to that third group of people in my life, even if it is just one or two people. As we journey along we realise we are not able to accomplish much on the basis of our own resources of ego and will-power but we have a stronger resource in the person of the risen Jesus.
Someone once said that we are affirmed by our successes but can be enlightened by our mistakes and those situations which challenge us.
What is God trying to teach us in in the darkness of our own personal cross?
How can the light of Easter make a positive difference in my daily life?