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A New Breath of Hope

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09.APR.09

EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE ST. VINCENT AND THE GRNEADINES CHRISTIAN COUNCIL – 2009

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Easter Peace and Blessings!

As the world struggles with crisis upon crisis, violence added to violence, death following on death, here we are at Easter celebrating life. Does this mean that the tragedies, crises, violence and deaths that surround us are not impacting on us, too, as Christians? Certainly not! We, too, have been in the tomb and have seen life from the tomb. We, too, are part of the struggle.##m:[more]## However, each Easter we are reminded of the victory that was won for us by Christ when he rose from the dead. His resurrection brings a new breath of hope to us in our struggle with crises, violence and human tragedy. Without this hope, the gloom of the tomb would overwhelm us.

None of us will escape the view from the tomb. It begins from this side of the grave in the battle with terminal illnesses, disappointments, deep hurts, family tragedies and spiritual and financial bankruptcy. It follows us when we close our eyes in natural death. However, the one who rolled the stone from the mouth of the tomb and rose triumphant in radiant light now shares his victory with us. The tomb is not our final resting place. Our destiny is to share in the glory of God through the resurrection of Christ.

In an ancient Christian Verse we read: Tell us, Mary: say what thou didst see upon the way. The tomb the Living did enclose; I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! … Christ, my hope, has risen…Mary Magdalene was a woman of faith and her words are full of hope. It is this same hope that we as Christians proclaim today. In a prayer for Easter Sunday we are reminded of the effects of the resurrection in our lives: This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men and women who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the sacred scripture foretold: that first he must die and then he would rise and ascend into his Father’s glorious presence.

We are not meant to stay in the tomb. Easter beckons us to come out of the tomb. The tomb is a place of death and darkness. Easter is an experience of life and light. In the same ancient Christian Verse associated with Easter and the resurrection, Christ is referred to as Life’s Champion. He is, indeed, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Life out of the tomb is life with Christ. It is Christ who gives this new life meaning and defines it for us through his resurrection. The causes he championed, we now champion. The standards and values he stood for, we now stand for. Easter makes us witnesses, through faith, to the Christ event. At the core of his teaching is love and reconciliation with a deep respect for human dignity and human life. In accepting the gift of life from Him we, too, have to become champions of life defending and protecting human life from conception to natural death. Our Easter faith compels us to witness to this truth.

Easter challenges our faith. We are no longer spectators in the mystery of redemption, but are called to share in the Paschal Mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. On Easter morning, when Peter and John received the news from Mary that the tomb was empty, we are told, that they ran to the tomb, looked in, entered, saw and believed. They believed that he had risen. Easter challenges us to become more actively involved in living and practicing our faith. Through faith, we witness to Christ who is alive. Death has no power over him anymore. This is the Good News we have to share with everyone. At Easter our faith comes alive and is filled with joy. Our faith is hope by definition. At Easter we experience a new breath of hope as we welcome the light of the Risen Christ into our lives, and proclaim Him as hope to the world.

One of the challenges for the Church in our society today should be to examine the tendency of society to reject the moral teachings of the Church while at the same time, when faced with the break down in moral values, to cry out for a return to traditional values and standards by which we once lived. On the one hand, society wants to go its own way, even at times undermining and rejecting the moral voice of the Church. On the other hand, it cries for help from the Church. This disconnection between faith and daily life needs to be addressed. Often our children lack role models and sound moral direction to guide them in their behaviour and the choices they make. The voices of parents, teachers, Church and society need to be in greater harmony. There clearly exists today a crisis of truth, a prevalence of relativism and a disregard for objective morality. The Church needs to continue to champion virtue in society, moral values, truth, and God’s revealed teaching and plan for His people.

As Heads of Churches, we call upon all our brothers and sisters in the faith to invest more of their time, talent and treasure in making the voice of Christ more clearly heard and to witness to the Gospel by the example of their own lives at every level of society, thereby giving an answer for the reason for their hope.

As we celebrate Easter, may death give way to life, darkness to light, despair to hope, sorrow to joy, pain to healing, dishonesty to truth, corruption to integrity, selfishness to love, doubt to faith. For Christ our Hope is risen, Alleluia!

Happy Easter.

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