Easter, the feast we have recently been celebrating, is about experiencing renewed life, promise, hope. “Christ is Risen!” is the greeting exchanged in France among Christians. “Happy Easter” is a lot less specific and a lot more vague, spoken more as a wish than as a statement of faith. But the challenge is to make our words a statement that means something today, while our world is going through such huge convulsions.
People from all the countries affected by current problems and devastations are living among us now, whether as immigrants or as refugees or asylum seekers. Do those who are not Christian know that we are what the late Cardinal Hume said “an Easter People, and Alleluia is our song” and that we have just celebrated what is the heart of our Christian faith and commitment – that Christ has Risen? Maybe we can follow the example of Pope Benedict in his Easter message, and make his prayer our own:
“…May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence…. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. …May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard. May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish.
…May heaven and earth rejoice at the witness of those who suffer opposition and even persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. May the proclamation of his victorious resurrection deepen their courage and trust.”
Benedict XV1, Easter Message Urbi et Obi
And may we all say a heartfelt “AMEN”.