2016 Easter Message - The Mercy of God in the Easter Mystery

Another word we know for Easter is Passover. It’s the word the Jews use for that memorable time in their Faith history when Moses led them from slavery in Egypt, through the Red Sea, to freedom.

As slaves they truly were in a pitiable state. The Egyptians were relentless, and to keep them subdued they made the Jews work harder and harder. Eventually Pharaoh also decreed that all male children of the slaves should be killed.

God had mercy on his people when he chose and sent Moses to free them from their slavery and subjection.

Human slavery is still present today. There are children working for a pittance in sweat shops. There are people forced into prostitution. In some countries children are forced to take up guns and become soldiers and murderers. Such slavery is one of the greatest offences against people and their God given dignity.

There are many other ills that people suffer as well. There are addictions of all kinds. There is conflict, betrayal, broken relationships, the taking of life - especially the innocent, selfishness in so many forms, oppression of poor and defenceless people etc..

Pope Francis calls all this for what it is - sin and the power of the evil one at work.

Yes people need to be freed from the slavery and burden of all that.

Jesus is our true Moses offering freedom. Each one of us, as sinners and under the power of death, need to be freed. Jesus, through the power of his death and resurrection, offers that freedom to everyone. For those people suffering oppression caused by others, Jesus’ power can raise up others to work for their freedom and wellbeing.

On the other hand we are made for love and life. Apart from freeing us from all that is negative, Jesus through his risen life, and the power of his Spirit, offers that love and life to everyone.

This is the great mercy of the Father, given to us through Jesus. As Pope Francis wrote in his document proclaiming the Year of Mercy, “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy”.

I want to mention also the problem or mystery of sickness and suffering. This is so prevalent nowadays despite the huge advances of medicine and science. Where is the mercy of God here?

While there are many things we don’t understand and cannot find reasons for, we are quite certain of one thing through our Faith. Jesus Christ the Son of God is with every sick and suffering person.

Not only did God’s Son take on our human nature in the Incarnation, and so became one with each of us, but also by his horrific suffering and death, he is one with every person who suffers. Pope Francis recently said, “In the sick and suffering we can touch the crucified flesh of Jesus”. 

Yes the mercy of God is with people in these difficult situations and comes to us again through the Easter mystery.

May more of this freedom, life and peace that Jesus offers, be with us and our world this Easter. In turn, through what we receive, may we in our own humble way, as well as world governments and powers, become the face of the mercy of God for others.

+The Most Rev. Justin J. Bianchini
Bishop of Geraldton