2008 Easter Message
Soon we will celebrate again the most important event of the whole year, namely the Paschal Mystery. In our Priests Retreat early in January we were led by our Director, Fr. John Chalmers, to reflect more deeply on this Mystery and its meaning for our lives. Fr John began by enlarging our understanding. He helped us see that while the Paschal Mystery was basically the Dying and Rising of Christ €“ the passing of Christ from Death to Life - it was also much more.

Putting it in terms of days it meant not only the prominent days of Good Friday and Easter Sunday but  Holy Saturday as well. It also included the Ascension and the days leading up to the Ascension. As well it encompassed the coming of the Holy Spirit and the days of waiting for that Spirit at Pentecost.

A strong point that our Director wanted to make was that Jesus didn'€™t pass immediately from Death to Life. There was the waiting time for him, for his mother and for all his followers.

It is the same for us. Things don'€™t change overnight. While the Cross is there in various forms in our lives, it will in Christ certainly lead to life. There needs to be the patient waiting first. Then when life does come it is not yet full and perfect. Any eventuating life and growth that does come is special in itself and gives joy. It also brings with it the future promise of life without end in Christ.

In the meantime there is more waiting. There are the forty days before Jesus Ascended to his Father in Heaven. This too is a time of waiting.

The waiting, although it calls for much patience, it is not just passive. Encouraged and taught by Jesus'€™ Ascension what we can do is day by day bring our crosses, our hurts, our limits and frailty (as well as our gifts, joys and hopes) to our God.  We can as it were let them Ascend to our God '€“ to God'€™s loving embrace.

We wait again then as Mary and the Apostles waited. And just as surely as it was for them it is also with us. The Holy Spirit comes to keep drawing life and good from what is happening to us and in us.

I want to add something about the Holy Spirit and the image of the Holy Spirit right at the beginning of the Bible in the first two verses of Chapter one of Genesis. These lines speak of the formless void, the chaos and darkness of initial creation and how the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters.

Our Retreat Director used another word which is pregnant with meaning. He spoke of the Holy Spirit '€œbrooding'€ over this water and chaos. What a wonderful image! As hens and birds brood over their eggs and bring forth life, so too the Holy Spirit brooding over us and our world will certainly continue to bring forth life and goodness and hope.

So the Paschal Mystery speaks of the power of Jesus and his Cross and Resurrection. It also speaks to us of the power of the brooding Holy Spirit.

As I'€™ve tried to emphasize the Paschal Mystery also speaks of waiting '€“ both waiting patiently on the Lord as well as with that Lord.

Understanding the Paschal Mystery in this way has been much more complete for me, much more hopeful and hope filled. It is the big picture of Jesus'€™ saving work. It is a total and wonderful framework for our lives. It has been a help to me since that Retreat and I trust even more into the future.

I send my Easter wishes to one and all. I pray this Eastertide (which is the fifty day period including Pentecost) that Jesus will reveal to us all even more of the meaning of this great Paschal Mystery.

Bp Justin Bianchini