E A S T E R M E S S A G E S
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
After our Lenten journey, the final Lenten ceremonies and the Holy Triduum, the commemoration of the last days that Christ lived through here on earth, helped us enter deeply into the climax of His suffering, death and resurrection. We should not be sad or gloomy during these days! On the contrary, we should really rejoice and be glad, because death has no more power over Jesus. “He is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world; by dying He has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life”.
Let us, my sisters and brothers, sincerely rejoice as if we were given a new life. Let us manifest our joy by singing: ‘Alleluia,Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen! Alleluia!’
Fr. Zacheusz M. Dulniok, ofm
Alleluia! Christós Anesti! During the Easter Triduum there is probably no Christian who does not wish to be at least for a moment in Jerusalem to venerate the rock of Golgotha and the empty stone of the Holy Tomb of the Saviour. In Jerusalem, which many consider to be the most important city in history, calling it “the umbilicus of the world”, the most important and most sacred place for Christians is the Basilica of the Resurrection. For us followers of the Risen Christ this place is “the heart of the Holy City”. Our faith would not be alive and authentic, even if we loved God with the greatest commitment, if Christ had not risen from the dead, if the stones had not been witnesses of His profound revelation. Once a senior friar taught me to never pass in front of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre without kneeling; “I always kneel”, he said, “in adoration of the place, because here are the stones that have seen and they know”. They are like silent witnesses of the mystery of the Resurrection, in which we believe and which we preach as a fundamental truth of our faith.
The Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre tells us how much Christ loved us by dying and rising for us. This place is still a symbol of His saving work. The distracted tourist never sees His presence, but the real pilgrim knows that the Lord is present. There are the stones that remember His death and resurrection but there is also the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament where the memory of the past combines with His sacramental presence of today. This year, during the liturgy of the Paschal Triduum, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre will look like a biblical “Tower of Babel” because all Christians will celebrate Easter on the same day, in the same place. On Calvary and at the Holy Tomb continuous prayer will be made by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Armenians, Copts and Syrians. Each community with its own characteristic rites and liturgy will celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This “Tower of Babel” expresses the splendour of the Christian faith and the universality of the message of the Gospel of the Risen Christ. Happy Easter!
Fr. Jerzy Kraj, ofm
We always associate the feast of Easter with new life. The rains of winter have been absorbed by the earth and plants begin to bud. Also, the birds build their nests and the young ones break forth from their eggs. In addition to nature’s springtime music, the sounds of choral preparations are heard. “Gloria”, “Alleluia” and “He is Risen!” On Easter Day the congregation fills the church with praise. Our lives have once again been sacramentally renewed through our observance of Lent. Indeed, let us enjoy fully the relationship we have with the Creator of all. He has made possible for us eternal happiness, internal peace and divine love.
Fr. Danielemosè Schroder, ofm
After going through the observances of Lent and Holy Week we rejoice at the Lord’s rising from the dead. The joy of new life through our Lord’s resurrection is then for all of us to experience throughout the whole year. As we exchange greetings on this great feast we are aware that we journey together toward a future filled with confidence and trust in the Lord’s company.
The time for fear and doubt set aside, we rise with the Lord with renewed vigour and hope to pursue our desires in the light of the Word of God. We are the Resurrection people and for that we go through our ordinary daily life with a certainty that will not be disappointed. God is faithful to His promises. Being aware of your faith in the Risen Lord, I am grateful for the blessings God has bestowed on me to see your many good works done for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in our midst. Our many differences are all but little obstacles which can be overcome with love and sincerity for the common good to create a bright future. We can do all things in Christ. God has been generous in giving us His only Son. He is no longer in the tomb. He is in our midst. We have to open our hearts and let Him in so that He may dwell there forever.
May each one of you continue to develop a deeper appreciation of one another. When we accept one another with love as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ we become more united with Him.
May the Risen Lord bless you always. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones!
Fr. Andrew M. Verdote, ofm