"What gift can Christians offer to the community?"

“Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee”,   the angels reminded the women when they were confronted by the empty tomb on the first Easter morning. “Jesus would suffer death at the hands of his enemies and after three days, rise again” was the message he told his disciples while they were in Galilee during his public  ministry. Remembering’ is something that we all cherish, especially those moments in our lives that gave direction, meaning and purpose for what we do.

We remember again, the holy and sacred moments of Jesus, through the Sacred Easter Triduum, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, where the Church solemnly celebrates the great mysteries of our redemption, through the memorial of Jesus’ Last Supper, his crucifixion, burial and rising from the dead.

We remember too, what happened to the women and first disciples of the Risen Lord, whose lives were changed forever. Despite the difficulties, persecutions and hardships experienced by the first Christians as they followed the Gospel of Jesus, St Paul’s words to the Philippian Christians resonated with them, “Nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”. 

At this moment in time, people everywhere could wonder ‘where can we find Hope?  Where has Hope gone?’  The future looks very uncertain with what has, and is happening in our community and our world, through the effects of the Pandemic and other tragic concerns. As we look beyond our community to the wider world, especially in Ukraine, things look pretty dark. 

What gift can Christians offer to the community?

We know that Jesus died and rose from the dead and is always present in every moment of life where people do not have to live with despair and hopelessness. This is the gift we offer this Easter to our communities. 

Hope, one of the virtues of our faith, becomes real and active through little acts of kindness, compassion and generosity that change the view for people.  As I hear of communities, families and people being isolated for a week or more due to Covid, people are not left alone to fend for themselves. Neighbours offer support and their presence through simple gestures of doing the shopping, collecting medications or using  virtual technology to ask , are you OK. The small steps we take can change the lens of how life is seen, especially for those who are struggling with hope, purpose and meaning.

For us who are Christians, the call is to become beacons of hope and light through our practical actions, which darkness cannot conquer as we let go of what binds us. The Cross looks like a disaster, yet it points us towards the Lord Jesus  who is now risen above all that bound him.

Pope Francis says, “Jesus' resurrection shows us that death does not have the last word; life does. Christ has been raised, so it is possible to have a positive outlook on every event of our existence, even the most difficult ones and those charged with anguish and uncertainty”.

As we remember these sacred moments during Holy Week,  faith in the Risen Lord reminds us, that it is possible to live in peace with our neighbour and rejoice in the gift of the other in our lives.

As Mary, the Mother of Jesus stood by her Son’s cross, she shows us a way of living, as we stand beside our crosses; so that what we give and do for others, will become and be a beacon of light and hope for our community.

People of Faith, let us remember what the Lord has done and offered us. May the blessings and peace of the risen Lord be given abundantly to you, your family and friends this Easter.

The Most Rev. Michael H. Morrissey
Bishop of Geraldton