We’ve almost all have had to hit the reset button on our computers, mobile phones, oil burners, etc. Sometimes they get stuck in endless cycles. Other times their memory gets clogged with too many files to choose from. We hit the “reset” to get the device back to its basics.
But it is not just our electronic gadgets! We get stuck in our ways. We get stuck in our habitual perceptions, emotional loops, and polarizing rigid thought patterns.
We need to reset, rediscover our basics.
Spiritual versions of hitting reset
Throughout history, God helped us “reset”. Isn’t that what happened when God gave Moses the ten commandments? In effect, God said, “You and my people have gotten lost! Here is a reset.” To their credit, God’s people recognized that they were being given a new way of looking at things. The people rejoiced and said loud “Amens”… for a while.
Centuries later the people once again lost their way. Through the prophets, God promised to give them commandments not written in stone but on the fleshy tablets of their hearts. God fulfilled that promise in the person of Jesus.
Jesus offered a reset of our hearts. He modeled for us what God had been talking about in the 10 commandments. Jesus even simplified the 10 commandments to just two! Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus went even further. He showed us what these two commandments looked like in midst of the nitty-gritty of life. He acted out these two commandments in reaching out to all his neighbors.
He explained this outreach in the story of the Good Samaritan. He gave us his own example when after a meal he humbly bent down to wash their feet and … told them to wash the feet of all their neighbors… in memory of him.
Then, amazingly, on the cross, he prayed for his enemies as they inflicted a most painful death. More amazingly, he returned to tell them he was putting the flame of his spirit in their hearts.
To this day we continue as a people to try to walk together in Jesus’ footsteps!
Our need for continuing resets
Just as in earlier ages his followers rejoiced. They thought they understood. But it took the early church a long time to realize Jesus meant we should wash the feet of Jews AND Gentiles, free men AND slaves, men AND women. They needed the Council of Jerusalem to spell this out for their time. The Acts of the Apostles record their slow realization of what it meant in their daily life. They could no longer do what they had always done.
Down through the ages we have seen more such resets. In every age, people struggled to get back to Jesus’ basics. Vatican II recognized the “signs of the times” and the need to reset, get back to the basics of his Gospel.
This is what Pope Francis is doing now. In a world that has become polarized, he is asking each and every one of us to wake up to the experience of communion, participation, and mission. No one of us can do it alone. It is a challenge for each of us – laity, priests, bishops, and even the Pope.
Over the next three years of the “synodal process”, he is asking us to gather in the upper rooms of our homes, parishes, dioceses, countries, and finally in Rome. To do what? Respectfully wait for and listen to the Spirit speaking not only to our hearts but in the hearts of our sisters and brothers. He is asking us to walk together respectfully.
Are we up to the challenge?
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk