Archbishop Denis Hart - Easter Message 2014
The English medieval mystic Dame Julian of Norwich once exclaimed: The worst has already happened and been repaired!
This Easter we remind ourselves again of this wonderfully consoling and challenging Good news of our faith.
The Resurrection of Jesus has happened already. Our vocation, as Catholics, is to be signs of, and witnesses to, this glorious fact.
Indeed, each of us rose from the dead on the day of our baptism and every year of our lives is an attempt to realise this fact more fully.
Every Sunday since Christ rose from the dead is in fact an Easter Sunday and an invitation to us also to rise one more time towards our final destination of heaven because we are an Easter people.
This means we, as people of faith, are above all people of joy. If we are without this joy, we can be prone to conflict. Others can perceive a hostile streak in us. We can lack patience.
When we are joyless we find it nearly impossible to bestow kind words on others. We lack human warmth and seem to be angry at ourselves and the world.
By contrast, the joy of our Easter faith is buoyant and warm, light-hearted, gracious and life-giving.
With the joy of this faith we see life differently! Our ‘eyes’ are opened and we begin to perceive other people not as ‘problems’ or ‘enemies’. Rather, with the eyes of faith, we can begin to reach out to them in compassion as our sisters and brothers.
Think of two great contemporary witnesses who actively reach out in compassion with the joy of Jesus in their hearts. Pope Francis recently wrote in The Joy Of The Gospel, “True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.”
Pope Francis and Jean Vanier, by their infectious joy and reaching out to people with compassion, are models of the joyful person of faith. To be in their presence is to see the risen Jesus at work.
Or remember two great and joyful recent Popes—John XXIII and John Paul II—who the Church will soon canonise as saints and who lived the joy of Easter faith so beautifully.
‘’Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
This Easter 2014, may we live the joy of Easter in our lives and in our prayer to the Risen One who is always with us.