Two major celebrations in the Catholic Church give our families a wonderful opportunity to get together. On Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, which dignifies our human families, and on Easter we celebrate Christ’s victory over death, which fills us with hope of salvation. Both celebrations are about God’s gift of life.
Holy week celebrations will help us to understand the way of the cross which Jesus accepted to restore our life into the fullness in the presence of God. Our way of life leads through the cross. Over last two years we have seen and experienced how heavy the cross is, Covid19 throughout the world, floods in Australia, war in Ukraine. Christ carried and carries that cross with us. May our participation in Easter ceremonies be filled with our prayers for those who currently carry a heavy cross. Let us pray also for people who, like Simon of Cyrene or Veronica, will extend their helping hand to those who suffer.
May the celebration of Easter help each one of you to renew and strengthen your commitment to God. That commitment which was made, for most of us, by our parents and godparents on the day of our baptism when, on our behalf, they rejected evil and professed their faith in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Through participation in the Easter liturgies, we can become the witnesses of the resurrection, to take Him out of our churches and bring Him into our families. This way we can act like the first disciples, who after meeting with the risen Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit went out to tell the Good News that Christ is alive and showed us the way of life.
Last year, in the first session of the Plenary Council in Australia, I had an opportunity to share and listen to different aspects of our Catholic life and ministries in Australia. One of the topics which was a result of the discussion is the importance of the domestic Church in our lives. Personally, I would strongly support that direction because I believe that we need to extend our message beyond the walls of Cathedrals and churches. Of course, there is always the opportunity to use mass media in our ministry, which we should do, but the best way of extending our mission is through the witness of the resurrection.
We are living in a world where the name of God is trying to be pushed out of the margin. Our family members are falling into the trap of the world’s mentality where there is no room for God. This Easter, for so many, is not about Christ’s victory but about free time, sport, entertainment. Most of them are good people. Maybe for that reason the people of our time need to witness the resurrection.
So, when you plan your family gathering over Easter, include the message that Christ is risen not only in the local church but also in your heart. This way you can spread the Good News but you can also set the foundation for domestic church.
During Easter, we wish each other a happy, joyful and glorious time. Let us remember that all that happiness, joy and glory comes from Christ’s victory over death, bringing life into our existence. May Christ shine upon you and your family this Easter.
Bp Karol Kulczycki SDS