EASTER MESSAGE, 2010
The Easter celebration, like every moment in the Christian life, is marked by our faith in the Triune God.
In trust and thanksgiving, we accept the gift of life from the Father, even though it comes with tears as well as joys, pain together with glory, hurt as well as consolation.
United in the love of Jesus Christ with the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, we encourage and sustain them in their difficulties, and celebrate with them the signs of his victory among us over sin and death.
Having received from the crucified and risen Jesus the breath of the Spirit of God, as a community of faith we reach out to all creation as sources and signs of hope and healing, witnesses of truth and reconciliation.
This Easter, I am particularly conscious of two challenges for our Church. The first is how to help support our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, as they try to protect their own identity, and yet at the same time respect the needs of all Israelis and Palestinians, including Jews and Muslims, in the search for peace and justice. Evidently, the problems in the Holy Land involve all society, although Christians there and in our country should be making special contributions in that painful search for peace.
The second challenge is the renewed focus on sexual abuse. How can this crime and sin best be prevented, and the lives of children, families and communities saved? Much of the current attention of the media is simply on the Church and whether we its leaders have acted wisely and responsibly. Here again, however, it is difficult to know how effective any response can be, unless it is admitted that sexual abuse and its prevention involves all our society. At the same time, here also Christians and Catholics should be true agents of healing and protection.
In both instances – the sufferings in the Holy Land, the sufferings through sexual abuse – Christians and Catholics are united in compassion and mercy with all victims of violence and mistreatment, of mistrust and suspicion, of exploitation in all its forms.
But we are also called to be witnesses and agents of healing and hope, of truth and reconciliation. In neither case can solutions be superficial or instantaneous. The human situation and human realities are complex. Simply blaming or criticizing one perspective or the other does little by way of examining past errors in honesty and sincerity, nor in healing wounds, nor in finding effective ways to journey with the human family in moving forward.
The Christ who brings new life and hope continues to bear the marks of his suffering and death. The Christian community in its celebration of the Resurrection honours and reverences the wounds of all the Body of Christ. It is only with our brothers and sisters that we can share in and proclaim the Paschal Mystery.
Our sisters and brothers are not alone in their sufferings and hopes, and neither are we, for he who was crucified is risen from the dead. Yes, Christ is truly risen! Happy Easter!
+ Pierre Morissette
Bishop of Saint-Jérôme
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops