CARDINAL SEÁN BRADY
LISTENERS OF LMFM RADIO
- Those who are sick this Easter,
- Those who are troubled in any way,
- Those who are grieving – I am thinking especially of those who are lonely because they know that they are terminally ill, or because they know that a loved one has truly left them.
- I am thinking of those who are depressed today because they feel today, a sense of loss or bereavement, failure or rejection.
The reason why I am happy to speak to you is that it is Easter Sunday – the day on which Jesus rose from the dead. For this is the day on which Christ has given us all hope – no matter what our situation. This is the season when Christ remembered those who had forgotten his promise of rising from the dead. So, if you are one of those for whom life has lost its meaning, do not despair; the Risen Christ can give you new hope. If you have lost hope of ever getting forgiveness for your past, remember the Risen Christ said: ‘Peace be with you’ and gave to the apostles, who had abandoned him, and to Peter, who denied him, the power to forgive.
If you are afraid of dying, and who is not! – please remember that God raised Christ from the dead. Christ himself will raise us up to life by His own power. If your suffering is so severe that it, at times, seems overwhelming, at this time let us remember that Christ followed the way of suffering even to the cross. He won for us all the patience to endure. He is living now to intercede for us.
If you find it difficult to rest and be at peace, let us never forget that Christ can keep us united with those who have gone before us and enable us to find rest with them when life’s work is over.
If you find the struggle with temptation awful, never forget that Christ has broken the power of hell and can destroy, within us, everything that is at enmity with God.
But this, of course, will only happen if we play our part. The first thing we have got to do is to believe in Him. We have got to set our hearts on the things that are of Heaven.
- We have got to be in union with Christ.
- We have got to die to sin in our lives and opt for union with Christ – our one and only Saviour.
This union we achieve through prayer and through receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and of the Eucharist. They used to be called making on Easter day.
Jesus never tired of telling his friends: “Do not be afraid”. He knew that love drives out fear. And I am sure that he believed that his condemnation to death would lead to new life. I have driven through lots of Louth and Meath in recent days. Everywhere there is new life – new life in the lambs in the fields in the flowers in the gardens.
During 2006, two miners in Australia spent two weeks trapped underground facing slow death before being rescued. Then there is the wonderful story of the rescue of the miners in Chile, trapped for a much longer time. They too were safely brought to the surface.
After those rescues their families and communities, their nations, rejoiced. People across the world followed their story and rejoiced at the good news. We are all fascinated by such stories – about people who look disaster in the face and make a new beginning. It is as though new life is granted to those who survive against the odds.
So, this Easter I suggest that wherever you are, and however you try, find a quiet time and a quiet space in which to contemplate the joy of the Easter story, come into the presence of the Risen Jesus. He is alive and he is present, here and now – within you, in your friends and in creation. He is also present in His word and in the sacraments, especially the Blessed Sacrament.
This is the day on which Christ has made us all Children of the Light. He has made it possible for us to escape from the darkness of despondency and despair. He offers us the possibility of new and everlasting life. In the Risen Christ the long reign of Satan and sin has ended. A broken world has been renewed.
The reason we can escape is because we see that death and destruction do not have the last word – goodness and kindness have triumphed over selfishness and sin. That is the victory of Christ and it can be our victory too.
The apostles and the holy women did not see a ghost of Jesus. They saw him in the flesh, but in different flesh, as the oak tree is different from the acorn from which it grew. This is a mystery beyond our imagination, but it is the centre of our faith. As we grow older, nothing in our faith makes more sense than the Passion and Resurrection, the certainty that our body, like Jesus’, must suffer and die, and the certainty that we, in our bodies, have a life beyond death.
But there was another day – Good Friday – as he stood before Pilate and saw the Roman Governor hand him over to be crucified. I wonder what thoughts were running through the mind of Jesus then. . He had just reminded Pilate that Pilate had authority over him only because it was given to him by God. Nevertheless, Pilate went ahead and gave in to the demands of those who shouted: “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!” I wonder did anyone see, in the eyes of Jesus, his conviction and his love. His conviction, above all, that love was stronger than the fear of what was to come.