Dear sisters and brothers in Christ.
As much as we might like it to be otherwise, at times, life can be unpredictable. Just when we think we have it all sorted out something comes along and pushes us into a place that is unfamiliar. We become uncertain, unable to make sense of what has just happened to us.
Despite him trying to teach his Apostles differently, Jesus’ Death and Resurrection were to them, something unpredictable. Easter is the season of unpredictability.
Events such as the ones we recently witnessed in Christchurch also remind us that life is unpredictable. The horror that such a thing could happen; the alarm that such things could happen close to home can almost overwhelm us.
Interestingly unpredictability gives us a choice. We can either react or respond. Easter and the Resurrection of Christ teaches us that, although life can at time be unpredictable, God is not. Thus, last Easter we choose to respond, not react.
Easter reminds us that we choose to respond in Solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the world. We respond in this way because we respect the dignity of each human person. We respond in solidarity because God has shown us what this solidarity looks like in sending us his Son Jesus Christ. As Easter we choose to respond in Solidarity.
Easter also reminds us that we choose to respond with Compassion, a word which means to “suffer-with”. When something such as the events in Christchurch happen it affects, not just the Muslim community, the Christchurch community and the New Zealand community, it affects us all of us. At Easter we choose to respond with Compassion.
Easter as well reminds us that we choose to respond with Hope. While many people seek to trade in fear and prey on our uncertainty, at Easter we respond with hope. A hope that knows that fear can never be or have the last word. A hope that says fear is not that which defines us. A hope that reminds us that, as we stand together at Easter, what brings us together is always stronger than that which divides. At Easter we choose to respond with Hope.
Easter reminds that we also choose to respond with Prayer, for it was while people were at prayer that such awful events happened in Christchurch. Prayer is seeking to be in communion with God, and allowing God to be in communion with us and our sisters and brothers. Our prayer at Easter is that that communion will deepen in the lives of all people, and with the God of peace. At Easter we choose to respond with Prayer.
So dear sisters and brothers in Christ, may Easter 2019 be a time of great peace and joy for you and your families and friends. May we rediscover that despite the unpredictability of life at times, God is always faithful. God is good, good indeed.
+Bishop Patrick O’Regan
Bishop of Sale