Beloved in Christ:Easter is the very foundation of our faith. The celebration of Easter brings us back to that foundation. It takes us back to how it all began. It is essential for us to return to this Feast each year to remember and to reaffirm what it is that we believe and why we believe it. We return, each Easter, to the very source of Hope and strength within us. From the Liturgy of Easter Sunday The Acts of the Apostles reports Peter saying: “[Jesus] … went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil for God was with him…. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. Yet … God raised him on the third day….” (Acts 10:38ff). What we have here is a basic, fundamental expression of our Christian faith. It is the bedrock upon which we place all our Hope.
It is the foundation upon which we build all our values. It is the cornerstone for all the meaning and purpose and motivation for good that is in our life. More than that, it is the source of the expectation we have for the fullness of life of which we have only hints and expectations in this mortal existence. In Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, the victory of life over death.We share in that resurrection by our own Baptism. That is how we understand Baptism. St Paul says: “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through Baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in the newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)We celebrate this Easter at a most unusual time. The entire planet is in the grip of coronavirus (Covid19).
This dangerous and deadly virus for which, at present, there is no vaccine or cure has impacted just about every nation and the deaths now number in the hundreds of thousands. Some among us have been infected and some have died.As we celebrate this Easter we do so joining the rest of the world in bearing a unique cross. It is Covid19. The wisdom of Science, Medicine and Public Health tells us that to protect ourselves as best we can we need to:Stay homePractice Social DistancingWash our hands frequentlyCover our cough or sneeze with a tissue then properly discard the tissue.Let us not be foolish. Let us not be irresponsible.
Let us follow these directions wisely.Being confined is not easy for us, but it is possible and right now it is necessary. History offers us examples of those who used confinement very positively. There are those who had confinement imposed upon them, sometimes unjustly. Still, with discipline and vision they used the time to fashion a better future for themselves and their nation. A prime example is Nelson Mandela.There are also those who freely chose confinement in order to attain spiritual discernment and insight and to grow closer to God. Doing so they have provided great benefits to our civilization.
I think here of the giants of our spiritual tradition such as St. Benedict and St. Ignatius of Loyola. We are all capable of using our time of confinement, our lockdown, positively. To deny this is to undermine and to undervalue our potential and our very selves.Indeed, this Easter finds us bearing a heavy cross. Yet this time of trial will not last forever. The passion and death of Christ is not the end of the story. His passion leads to his glorification. With that in mind, let us embrace our cross wisely, faithfully and hopefully. After these bleak days there are much brighter days ahead. Our celebration of Easter keep us holding firmly to that Hope.
May the Risen Lord be our Hope and our strength.May God Almighty protect us all.