The Triduum begins
Archbishop of Perth's Easter Message 2014
Life – Stronger than Death
The great celebration of our Christian faith, the celebration of Easter, is with us once more. As we do every year, so again in 2014 we reflect on the events which took place over two thousand years ago on the other side of the world when Jesus of Nazareth was executed, buried and then rose to new life three days later. The Easter message is both incurably optimistic and starkly realistic at the same time. It is a message ultimately of hope – what else can the resurrection of Jesus mean? It is, tragically, also a reminder that suffering, struggle, defeat and death are a part of every human story.
Life certainly brings many joys but it also presents each of us with challenges, doubts, disappointments and confusion. We confront this unavoidable truth in the eyes of those who wander our streets with nowhere to live, and perhaps no one to love, or who sit on the footpaths in our city hoping that someone will give them some money to buy the next meal. We see it in the desperation of people fleeing their troubled homelands in search of safety and security for their families, only to meet rejection, disdain and despair. We hear it in the cries of those who suffer abuse, neglect and indifference. We certainly see it on the faces of those who have lost loved ones in the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370.
As Christians, who are called by Jesus to be a light for the world and salt for the earth, we must acknowledge that we are often the very ones who bring darkness and despair into people's lives and who strip the joy and the "flavour" from their daily experience. Christians, of course, aren’t immune from the experience of suffering, struggle and defeat in our own lives. To our shame we are also numbered among those who inflict such things on others, both by what we do and what we fail to do. We cannot and must not hide from this awful truth but must recognize and embrace our responsibility to do all we can to bring wholeness and hope to damaged lives. Because this is the duty of every member of our society it is particularly the duty of Christians who claim to have a message of truth and hope but who have often obscured and even nullified this message by our failures. This is true at the level of our families, of our communities, of our Church and of our society.
For all of us Easter is a time for remembering that this destructiveness which can so blight people’s lives need not and must not have the last word. Love is stronger than hate and life is more powerful than death. Deep within each of us is the desire to hope and to believe that this is true, and will prove to be true in our own experience. The Easter story tells us that Jesus did not run away from the cross, but that because he entrusted himself to God that cross became a gateway to life. The story of the resurrection is a compelling reminder to us that, as Jesus’ disciples, we must allow him to work through us so that his gift of peace, of hope and of healing might be experienced by all whom we meet. Our Church is full of people who do this every day, often in small and unobtrusive ways. They remind us of what we are all called to do and be by the Lord.
At this joyful time I wish you all a very happy, safe and peaceful Easter season.
The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB
Archbishop of Perth