Opened Minds (Easter 3)

April 25th, 2009 Posted in writing

Jesus opened his disciples’ minds. That’s what the gospel says.  He opened the minds of the disciples hiding in the upper room just as he had opened the minds of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus earlier that day.

Jesus opened their minds to understand that what had happened in the Passion and Resurrection was not some accident or unexpected and unfortunate series of events. Jesus opened their minds to see that the whole history of God’s dealings with human beings in general and the Chosen People in particular had pointed to these things, had “prefigured” them and, conversely, that his passion, death, and rising gave ultimate meaning and significance to all that had gone before. When the Emmaus disciples heard what Jesus told them, they came alive. The disciples in the upper room surely felt the same.

But what does all this have to do with us? Just this. We may sometimes think that our lives are just one disconnected thing after another, a whole lot of beads with nothing to string them onto or nothing holding them together. Just individual beads.  This is how post-modernists see things. They are distrustful of “meta-narratives,” that is, stories that are large enough to contain other stories and give them purpose, direction, and meaning. But that is precisely what the Christian faith is.

Christians believe that God is making something out of his actions and the actions of others, that he is even able to take things that look meaningless (like the suffering and death of Jesus) and bring about something wonderful that “fits” the story of his own love for us. St. Paul said it in Romans, chapter 8, when he wrote that God work to bring all things into good for those who love him. We believe that God is able to create his story and bring it about and that his will can “be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

So, we do not live without hope, nor must we think that the things we do or undergo lack meaning and value. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are being reminded of the ability of God’s story to encompass the whole all our little stories. And especially during the Easter season we are reassured that even those things that look like they don’t belong in God’s story have a part to play in the praise and glory of God. That is what Jesus showed the disciples when he opened their minds.

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