- “My prayer for each of you, and for all of us, this Easter, is that we shall all be changed” – Bishop Doran
Somebody asked me recently if I had prepared my Easter message yet. It strikes me that there is really only one Easter message and it will be familiar to most of you: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again”. Anything I say has to flow from that.
Christ has died:
The Cross of Jesus is the most important symbol of Holy Week and Easter. We would not be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, if he had not first given his life for us. There has been a lot of the cross in all our lives during this past year. For some, it was the cross of physical suffering and death. For others, it was the cross of loneliness and isolation. For many, it was the call to serve and to make sacrifices for the good of others. I know that many of you have prayed in a different way in recent months and that your prayer was not just for yourselves, but for the world and for the Church. You can never know how important that is.
If you have carried a cross over this past year, you probably didn’t choose it, any more than Jesus chose the Cross that He carried to Calvary, but what counts is that you accepted it in a spirit of generosity and faith. I encourage you in these days to take your cross and to lay it spiritually beside the Cross of Jesus and the crosses of all your brothers and sisters.
Christ is Risen:
The Resurrection of Jesus is a historical event, but it is not just something that happened “once upon a time”. When we say; “Christ is Risen”, we proclaim our faith that he lives still. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, is our guarantee that Jesus continues to live in each one of us who are Baptised, and in all of us who are His body, the Church. As Saint Paul said: “if we have died with him, then we shall live with him” – and that doesn’t have to wait until the next life.
In recent months I have heard many people say that they don’t want to go back to the way they were before the pandemic. We want to live in a new way. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection, He was the same Jesus they had always known, but the disciples didn’t recognise Him. Something had changed. My prayer for each of you, and for all of us, this Easter, is that we shall all be changed.
Christ will Come Again:
After the first Easter, the lives of the disciples were transformed. They were filled with a spirit of kindness which led them to share everything. They made sure that nobody among them was left in need. They waited in joyful hope for Jesus to come again. This Easter, we stand in their shoes.
While we wait for Jesus to come again at the end of time, it is not the waiting of children who expect to be fed; it is the waiting of mature adults. During his earthly ministry, Jesus healed the sick, welcomed outcasts, forgave sinners and was at home with the poor. We know that, even now, He walks among us when, as his disciples, we are able to be people of forgiveness and servants of the poor and when we seek to promote inclusion and healing in our society.
I wish you every blessing during these few very special days and the grace to be what you are called to be in the months and years ahead.
- Bishop Kevin Doran is Bishop of Elphin.
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