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Easter: A Time for Reflection on our Relationship with God

12 April 2017 | General Interest

Easter encourages us to think about our relationship with God.

So how do we understand our relationship with God? The former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Basil Hume explained that when he was a young boy he got caught stealing an apple. His angry father warned him, ‘that God saw everything’.

The father demanded to know, ‘what God would say about this bad act of stealing an apple’. The young lad reprimanded, was sent away with an image of God as one who watches over us, just waiting to catch us out whenever we make a mistake, looking for revenge. Not the best image for forming a life-time loving relationship with God.

Anthony Maher

Decades later and in his late 60’s, the now Cardinal, Basil Hume, explained that it took him 40 years to recover from this image of an angry, vengeful God. It took the Cardinal 40 years to answer his father’s question, and to deepen his relationship with God. What is your answer? What did God say?

Our image of God then has life changing consequences.  When we look around our planet this Easter we are confronted with violence and intolerance, including extreme acts of terror, mistakenly committed in the name of God or religion. And again we are driven to ask for a second time, what is our relationship with God?

There is an understanding of God found in the Gospels of One who walks with the marginalised, feeding the poor, healing the sick, befriending the socially excluded or outcast, indeed a God who refuses to throw the first stone, a God who does not judge.  The same Gospels teach us that a relationship with God is found in befriending our neighbour and then we are invited to ask individually and as a community, who is my neighbour?

In the later years of his life, the Cardinal finally discovered an answer to his father’s question. Smiling, the Cardinal affirmed, ‘God would have said to the young boy, take two apples’.

For the third time we ask, how do we understand our relationship with God? Everyone in some form seeks an answer to this important question. Our answers, like St Peter’s 2000 thousands years ago, has life-giving potential.

Happy Easter!

Prof. Anthony Maher (Academic Dean, BBI-TAITE)

 

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