Easter Sunday Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral - Sunday 5 April 2015

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!”
(Psalm 117:24)

In these words the Psalm challenges us to joy and thanksgiving because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of the Virgin Mary, one who shares humanity with us, is risen from the dead. Indeed, it can be said that we look for the living among the dead and even last night the story of the rolling of the stone away from the tomb shows us that Jesus’ resurrection is not a cause for fear, because he has risen he is not here. This morning two outstanding witnesses to the resurrection present to us the fact that Jesus is risen.

The words of Saint Peter help us to understand that the death and rising of Jesus are for the forgiveness of our sins. Because of this, they and we are witnesses. Jesus is our merciful Saviour. We are called to respond to his love. As Saint Paul says, “Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died and the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) In our witnessing it is important not to resist the tendency to ignore the fact of the suffering of Christ.

Today’s Gospel is powerful for us because it begins with the most uncomfortable and challenging reality of our human condition, suffering and weakness, into which Jesus entered fully even unto death and this was the means to own both suffering and victory.

Many of us have been appalled by the wanton violence in the city yesterday – people seem unable to express their opinion without resorting to violence. We note with pain murders in Geelong and in the suburbs, family violence; all of which show failure in our human relationships and respect for each other. The message of Easter is one of peace – real peace where we are committed to the contribution we can make to building a better city, a stronger community of respect. The human spirit is imperishable, made for eternal life

The radical challenge in the Easter Gospel is about new life. We are called to set our hearts on God with love for one another; the love that inspired Jesus to lay down his life and to forgive us our sins, the love of the Father for Jesus, the love that inspired him to raise Jesus up from the dead on Easter Sunday. This is the love that must inspire us here to forgive one another and to serve one another. But forgiveness and service require strength. The one who says to us, “Once I was dead, but now I live”, invites us to make Christ our source of strength.

Above all we have hope because the resurrection of Christ is our strength. We remember that the resurrection of Jesus is more powerful and lasting than any nuclear explosion.

Jesus who is risen offers power for our hearts and minds and consciences to respond to God’s love, to show mercy and forgiveness to others and to serve one another. That is why the Psalm is right. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Yes, Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead. Alleluia! Alleluia!”

+ Denis J. Hart,
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