9:00pm Mass to be celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
“This Easter let us pray and work for the gift of hope for those in Ireland who are finding it difficult to cope with financial problems, relationship difficulties, sickness or bereavement – those who may be tempted to despair about the future” – Archbishop Martin
There is little for the homilist to add during the celebration of the great and noble Easter Vigil. The preparation of the new paschal candle, the singing of Exultet, the Easter proclamation, such a wonderful selection of Old Testament readings and psalms telling the great events of salvation history, and then that beautiful Gospel account of the Lord’s resurrection – this year from the Gospel of Mark. And soon we will have an opportunity to bless the Easter water and renew our Baptismal promises, before entering into and receiving the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The Easter Vigil is a truly joyful celebration and ‘Alleluia’ is our song. Our Alleluias are made all the more joyful by the realisation that God became a human being and suffered for us on Good Friday. Sadly, the Cross of Good Friday continues to cast a long shadow in our world – from the hungry lands of Ethiopia where Mahlet, the young girl on this year’s Lenten Trócaire box, lives – to the refugee camps of Syria, to the homes of Kenya where families are left devastated this weekend by the murder of their loved ones at Garissa University on Holy Thursday.
If the story of salvation had ended on Good Friday, we would be a people of despair, only able to cry out as Jesus did on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned us?” I know that for many people across the world and here in Ireland that feeling of abandonment and emptiness is very real. It is comforting for them and for all of us to know that Jesus also felt rejected, abandoned, almost swallowed up by evil before the victory of Easter destroyed death and restored life.
This Easter let us pray and work for the gift of hope, especially for those in Ireland who are finding it difficult to cope with the worries of everyday life – like financial problems, relationship difficulties, sickness or bereavement – those who may be tempted to despair about the future. During the Easter season let us consider ways in which we can bring the joy and comfort of the Risen Christ into the lives of those who have heavy crosses to carry.
Beannachtaí na Cásca oraibh go leir.
Happy Easter to you and your families.
· Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
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