23 March – Easter Message 2008 – LMFM Radio
CARDINAL SEÁN BRADY
LISTENERS OF LMFM RADIO
What is my Easter message?
It is, in fact, a very old message that is forever new.
Jesus Christ is the lamb – the innocent lamb that was slain for love of us. By dying he destroyed our death – by rising he restored our life.
Nevertheless, we still have to face death. But Jesus has taken the sting out of death by proving that death is not the end.
He has made us children of the light – but our part is to walk in the light.
He has opened the gates of Heaven to receive his faithful people but terms and condition apply. We do have to try and be faithful. In Christ, a new age has dawned. The long reign of sin is ended.
There is a series on RTE, directed by Dermot Ferriter entitled: What If……… What if certain things hadn’t taken place? Pope Benedict once asked the same question: What would it mean if Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, had not taken place? And here is his answer:
If there were no resurrection, the story of Jesus would have ended with Good Friday. His body would have decayed and he would have become a ‘has-been’. But that would mean that God does not take initiatives in history, that God is either unable or unwilling to touch this world of ours, to touch our human living and dying. And that in turn would mean that love is futile, useless, an empty and vain promise. It would mean that there is no judgement and no justice. It would mean that the present moment is all that counts and that right belongs to the cute, the crafty and those without consciences. There would be no judgement.
Of course a lot of people, and by no means only wicked people, would welcome that because they confuse judgment with petty calculations. They give more room to fear than to trusting love. But all of this makes clear what Easter does mean. It means that God has acted. History does not go on aimlessly and without meaning. Justice, love, truth, these are realities, genuine reality. God loves us; He comes to meet us. The more we go along His road and live in His way, the less we need to fear justice and truth, the more our hearts will be full of Easter joy. Easter is not only a story to be told, it is a signpost on the journey of life. It is not an account of a miracle that happened 2,000 years ago. It is the breakthrough which has determined the meaning of all history. If we grasp this, we too, today, can utter the Easter greeting with undiminished joy – Christ is risen. Yes, he is risen indeed.
It is always a special moment when we wait in the dark church for the Easter light to be struck. Perhaps that moment can help us all to realise that God is well aware of the night which surrounds us. Night, darkness, absence of light, they all help us to appreciate, more fully, what life really is by its brightness. It enables us to see. Light shows the way – light gives us direction and helps us to know ourselves and our shortcomings and to know others. The quivering flame of the Easter candle is an image of life, that wonderful mystery that is, in fact, so dependent on light.
At his Resurrection, Jesus came back to life but Jesus promised to come back again at the end of time. In the meantime, we would expect to go out to meet him on the road of life, with our lamps lit with the light of faith. And perhaps. at this Easter time, we could all ask the question: Will I be one of those who will sit down at the Lord’s Table at the banquet of Heaven? Will my lamp have enough oil for the journey?
But rather than worry about the future, Pope Benedict says that we should ask the right questions about the present. Yes, of course the world is dark but even the single candle is enough to bring light to the peoples’ darkness. Didn’t God give us a candle at baptism and the means of lighting it? And so, right now we must be courageous enough to light the candle of our faith and our trust and our love. Instead of lamenting the night, we must dare to light the little lamp that God has loaned us – the light of Christ, thanks be to God.
I want people to remember the Holy Land in a special way this Easter. There is terrible tension and terrible trouble there just now. I was there in January and I hope to go again, in the near future, with the other Church Leaders to highlight the suffering of the people there.
I want people to pray for Iraq – the Archbishop of Mosul was found dead after being abducted recently. Last year one of his priests – Father Ragheed Ghanni was taken out and shot. Iraq and its people need our prayers.
Finally, there are many Irish missionaries in Kenya. I think of them and their worries and troubles and I pray that the Risen Christ will shed his light and his love, in a special way, on this troubled land and its people.