BISHOP JUSTIN’S EASTER MESSAGE 2014
Conquering Sin and Evil?
Evil has always been a problem - and caused problems down through the course of history.
At times we can give reasons for it. Someone sent me a cartoon recently. It was of a young man sitting with Jesus on a park bench. The young man said “So why do you allow things like famine, war, suffering, disease, crime, homelessness, despair etc. to exist in our world?” Jesus answered, “Interesting that you should bring that up as I was about to ask you the exact same question?”
Other times we certainly cannot give reasons for it. At such times the problem of evil becomes a mystery for us.
Our Faith can be shaken too. It comes down to the fundamental problem that God does not live up to ‘my’ expectations. The true God should: prevent natural disasters (e.g. cyclones, earthquakes), quickly straighten out injustices, eliminate sickness and suffering and finally protect everyone from accidents, especially children. If God is all-powerful, and God is good, then evil should not be. But evil does exist - everywhere.
This is where Easter is so important and central. All we can do is (and it is so important that we do it or we can view life in a very limited and warped way ) look at the cross - as evil and ugly a thing as we could think of - and say, “God, help me to trust as Jesus did, that you can bring goodness out of evil.”
We may not see it often but it does happen often. There are people who are constantly embracing hardship (what we call evil) and quite often with the support of many good people around them. There are people with disabilities, others impaired by terrible accidents or sickness, people burdened with many other circumstances and happenings beyond their control, people living in poverty, people living with life and soul destroying addictions. Examples of heroism and goodness emerge in such situations time and time again - by those in hardship themselves and / or by the people who care for them.
I believe that it is the Power of Jesus working in and through such people and situations. It is Jesus with them in their cross and Jesus drawing goodness and life from it all for them.
Our Easter mystery, Jesus’s Death and Resurrection - Jesus passing from death to Life - makes it all possible.
It is so true of the greatest evils - sin and death. Jesus has conquered both, gaining forgiveness of any sin, no matter how horrible, as well as the gift of Eternal Life.
Easter spans the whole spectrum of life - from womb to tomb. Wherever we are in this journey, this Easter, Jesus is saying to us, “I am with you. I offer forgiveness and healing for any sin, anytime. I draw goodness and life out of everything, even death.”
A happy Easter and may this Pascal Mystery daily speak to you and affect your life.