1 April 2021
For Catholics all around Australia, Easter 2021 is a special time. There is no more important celebration than the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the community of the Church is looking forward to gathering together to celebrate Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.
This time last year our churches were closed as the pandemic began to change our lives. Our parish communities adapted to connect in different ways. Masses were live streamed, families prayed at home together and Catholics marked Palm Sunday at home by placing palms on their front doors.
Our parish communities on the Northern Beaches also faced the closure of churches at Christmas, and the locking down of the Peninsula into the New Year.
After such an incredible time, with change forced upon us on so many levels, many hope that our lives will quickly return to normal. Or rather we might adapt to what is being called ‘the new normal’.
My sisters and brothers, what does this actually mean?
We’ve shown that as a people of God and as a community, we can adapt to change. Change is not always welcomed but comes nonetheless, with the passage of time and the different seasons of life.
In the whirlwind of change we carry with us this enduring fact, given to us by St Paul in the letter to the Hebrews - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.”
This does not mean the person of Jesus Christ is a static, undynamic character, an historical figure only for our observation. Jesus is unchanging in his identity as the Son of God, unchanging in his immense love for each of us, unchanging in his passion to see the Good News of his Gospel brought to every woman and man. Jesus is the unchanging God for an ever-changing world.
The question for us is, where are we in relation to Jesus Christ? How much are we invited to change in order to encounter the never-ending love of God?
To ask these questions and to be prepared for the answer will change our lives. We cannot go on as ‘normal’ if we truly seek to discover and live these answers.
For people of faith and for all those who are searching, we might ask:
What does it mean to believe what Jesus said?
What does it mean to believe what he did?
And what does it mean to believe who Jesus is?
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is present to us in every celebration of the Mass and in a special way is revealed in the Paschal Mystery through the Easter narrative.
Easter is the journey of Christ from death to life, and from darkness to light.
Jesus died for us so that we might not suffer death for our sins but be offered redemption and eternal life with him. Jesus faced the depths of darkness for us so that we could open the shadow part of our lives to his power and allow his light to dispel our darkness.
This is an invitation to change. When we change we grow, and our concern must be that we are always growing more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
It is one thing to celebrate the Easter liturgies, it is another to contemplate the moment of embrace, encounter and heavenly life that the Risen Lord reveals to us through his Resurrected Body. For some, this might be a return to Jesus as the centre of our lives as it was when we first encountered him. For others it might be the very first time we have personally encountered Jesus in his human and divine presence.
This Easter, let us contemplate the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ, with us yesterday, today, and forever, who draws us into relationship with him in a way that is life-giving and new. Let us surrender our lives to Jesus and allow our imagination and our hearts to be captured by that sacred and intimate encounter.
This Easter, let our ‘new normal’ be determined by our meeting with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit given to us.
May the blessing of the Risen Lord be with you and your loved ones and remain with you forever.