The Third Sunday of Easter

Whoops! “Oh Padre!” came the quiet comments – intakes of breath from the cadets – as well as smirks from the staff. We had just finished Colours at Sea Cadets and I had been dismissed but was still on deck as were the cadets and my phone rang. Phones are not to ring on Parade. I quickly grabbed it and left the main deck and took the call.

Now here’s the thing. I had turned my phone onto silent. I do it quite often but over the years occasionally a phone call has come through. I wonder why and come up with an explanation – the phone is on silent and maybe this number can ‘by pass’ silent somehow? Ok, not logical but it makes sense (to me). I know I’ve put the phone on silent. I would testify to it in a court of law. So on returning to the Unit in the Mess Deck I asked some of the staff why would my phone ring if I turned it to silent? They didn’t know but asked me to show them the phone which I did and then they smiled – as one might do a befuddled doddering old person (I am by far the oldest person there) – because I had turned the sound of all media to silent but not the ‘bell’ icon which means phone calls. ‘I’m an idiot!’ I laughed. All these years, I had seen the bell icon but not known reality. I had turned the phone to silent but only turned part of the phone down. I’ve had a mobile phone for decades and I learnt something that night. I had an explanation for the times the phone rang when it shouldn’t but it wasn’t the right explanation.

In a moment I saw myself as humanity who thinks they know reality, who has explanations for why things happens, who knows how to behave in certain situations, who still gets perplexed when the unexpected happen but who has their own explanation which makes sense and who simply live in their own world but then who suddenly discover that their world isn’t reality! I saw myself as someone insistent that religion is rubbish or that Jesus is not God and who suddenly discovers Jesus standing next to them! In a moment the truth is there – Jesus has risen from the dead, his death was significant, and the life he kept offering was real – a real and full life with him. In a moment I had heard in my words, ‘I’m an idiot!’ humanity’s realisation that there is more to this world than what our senses tell us, what our intellect tells us, and how our desires shape us – because a new truth – a new reality – has been revealed which changes everything!

There is a lot of fear and pride in our world with which life is stunted or becomes oppressive. What Christians discover is that love – God’s love casts out fear – and that what they are afraid of with God and religion isn’t what they meet with Jesus or God! I think people are afraid of being controlled and miss the point that Jesus enters into a relationship with us in love and service and discipleship is all about discovering that this relationship with Jesus (also called ‘faith’) doesn’t control us but is the best way to live. A new reality exists with the God who says and acts first towards us – the cross and empty tomb are constantly there – as are his first words to us, ‘I love you’. What a reality!