Reflection 5th May 2019

A Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter

Jn: 21: 1-19 (

The writer Noah Harari says that human beings rule the world because of two attributes.

The first is that they can organise collectively. That said, they share this with other species such as bees, ants and chimps.

The second however, is that they have imagination.

When these two attributes combine, Harari asserts that things happen, and this explains why we dominate!

When it comes to faith there’s no denying that imagination plays a key role in Scripture. The sacred writers had very fruitful imaginations and employed them to the full in exploring the mystery of God revealed in the word and in the Word made flesh.

During these Sundays of Easter when we are immersed in the mystery of new life in the risen Christ, readings from the Book of the Apocalypse are put before us. My guess is they are duly skipped over as just too weird and there is something sad in that.

John, our ancestor in the faith certainly had a very vivid imagination and it was nourished by his reading of Scripture and by his experience of living the life of the Spirit. In his wild enthusiasm he wants to share with us the meaning of Christ’s victory over death. He uses words to paint pictures in vivid colours that express something of the power of Easter. He plays with the image of a celebration of a liturgy in heaven. Because of the crucified and risen Christ, everything is changed, and the entire cosmos is caught up in a rapturous joy that spills over in praise and thanksgiving.

John’s world was not so different from ours in terms of the presence of suffering and oppression, yet he found his hope in Christ’s victory. Nowadays we probably need to learn from him and to let our imaginations run free as we ponder the amazing mystery of new life in the risen Christ. It would be good for us to allow ourselves to share with the entire cosmos, black holes and all, in an exuberant outpouring of wonder and gratitude!

Seán Goan – Seán is Co-ordinator of Spiritan Mission Ireland.