As we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ this year, we somehow feel like survivors of a major struggle due to the covid crisis, and we also know it is not over yet.
For many reasons 2020- 21 has changed our lives, changed our church, changed our country and our world. The Resurrection of Christ changes everything. While God has spoken and continues to speak and act amongst us, somehow, we know that the transformation we seek is only beginning.
The Risen Lord is speaking to us. We are still only beginning to hear Him. Still, we are joyful at the news of the Resurrection.
As we saw during Covid, God is with us, the Gospel is true. We, though wounded, will arise to eternal life. No evil, no matter how dark, will destroy us. We are a chosen people.
- I believe. Help my unbelief – Mark 9:17-31
- Easter Greeting from Bishop Mykola Bychok
- Easter Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Sviatoslav
Our faith is not futile. Our sins are forgiven. We will rise to meet those of our beloved departed in the new life.
Our old problems are still with us. Death is still here. Suffering is still here, but it is defeated as it has a new meaning. It is a way to reunite ourselves with Christ.
Sin is also still here, but it will not destroy us. Jesus forgives us. Evil is with us, but Easter teaches us that evil will be overcome. It can bring us closer to God. It has no power over us.
About six years ago I had a very special Easter which I will never forget and one which taught me a lot. I was then the Vice President of Caritas, Australia. On April 25, 2015 a major earthquake had struck Napal. About 9,000 people were killed, 23,000 were injured and parts of Napal were destroyed. One year later, not much was done to improve the lives of the survivors. We went to the mountain top where 3,000 people had died. On that trip I saw Good Friday and the Resurrection. Good Friday in the suffering of the 500 people who came to see us on their mountain top village, and the hope of the Resurrection in that we were able to help by releasing the money and work which was needed to give people help. The people we met, told us that they wanted water and shelter. They knew that we were Christians and that we would help. The people of Napal know about earthquakes but they needed help with the recent one. That’s how we all look at evil. We ask why did God allow this? Why is there so much suffering. The real question is, what are we, who experienced the Resurrection of Christ going to do about the pain before our eyes. That is what God wants to do. You cannot condemn earthquakes, but those of us who believe in God, and live our faith, must live in such a way that we can recognize a neighbour, or a brother or sister who is in need, and be motivated enough to help them with the cross they carry. If Jesus Christ is risen, then surely He will be found alive in us. Not being able to help in anyway, is a sign of a faith is in serious trouble.
During the Easter Season we all sing that “Christ is risen”, and indeed He has. But we, who have taken on Christ through our baptism, have to make sure that He is actually risen and that He lives in each of us.
Easter calls on each of us to be people who are full of faith, hope and service to those amongst us in need.
Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM