CARDINAL SEAN BRADY
Today, Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. With joy we proclaim our faith ‘in the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come’. The Gospels make it clear that it was the same wounded body on the cross that, in the Resurrection, is transformed and glorified. With St. Paul, therefore, we proclaim our faith that he who raised Jesus from the dead will also transfigure these ‘bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. We proclaim the good news that this body I have is worthy of the utmost dignity and respect. It is part of my unique identity for all eternity.
As I wish people a very happy Easter, I immediately ask myself what do I mean by wishing people a Happy Easter? One of the things that can help make people happy is good news, especially good news that concerns themselves. The good news of Easter, and it concerns all of us, is that: Christ is risen from the dead. Dying he conquered death. To the dead he has given life. Someday we are all going to die. But death is not the end.
Someone asked me recently: What would I have said or done if I had found myself among those unfortunate women, men and child passengers on the Titanic 100 years ago?
At first I felt the question far-fetched. But then I remembered that one of my uncles had actually sailed from Ireland to the United States four years earlier in 1908. Then I began to apply my mind to the question more seriously.
If I had found myself on the Titanic I would hope that all the prayers I have said, asking for help at the hour of my death, would at that time, be answered. But I would also hope that, in a situation like that, terrible and all as it is, my faith in the Risen Christ would come to my aid – with clearer realization – that yes, in fact Christ had not only destroyed death, but actually removed, the terror of death.
I would hope that, no mater where I am, hilltop or valley, land or sea, in a crowd or alone, I would always remember that I am in the presence of God. I would hope that even in those dire circumstances, I would not forget that the Creator, who gave me life, is within me, and is concerned for my well-being. I would dearly like to believe that even then I would do my best to bring help and consolation to others.
So my wish for everyone this Easter is: joy – deep joy; as the Easter Proclamation of the Church says:
Exult, let them exult, the Hosts of Heaven.
Be glad, let earth be glad
Let all the corners of the earth be glad,
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice.
Christ has broken the prison bars of death. He is the morning star who never sets but sheds his peaceful light on all humanity. May the Risen Christ help us all escape from whatever prisons of darkness and despair hold us captive and may His peaceful light burn brightly, especially on the sick, this Eastertide.