2011 Easter Message - Never Lose Hope
Records show that Christians, besides celebrating Easter Sunday, celebrated a continuing Easter Season as far back as the beginning of the third century.

Outside of Ordinary Time, it became the Churches longest Season ƒ‚'€“ a fifty day stretch from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.

The Easter Season is so long because Christians believe that the Resurrection is just too big and too important to be celebrated for only one day, or even one week. In fact as we reflect we can see that the Easter Mystery is part of our whole year and our daily lives.

Since the time after the Exodus the Jews have celebrated the Passover annually. However the Passover from slavery to freedom through the Red Sea was never far from their minds.

In their prayers, and particularly the wonderful Old Testament Psalms, the Jews recall this great event time and time again. They call to mind more importantly the power of God displayed there to show his care and protection of them. The presence of God they saw in the ƒ‚'€œcloud by dayƒ‚'€ to hide them from the enemy and the ƒ‚'€œfire by nightƒ‚'€ to guide them on their journey in the desert.ƒ‚‚‚ 

They believe that the liberating power of God, and his protective and guiding presence, continues to be with them in their lives.

Our Easter is exactly like that. It is the Passover of Jesus from death to life. It is his rising to life from the suffering and death he endured.

We celebrate this at Easter, however it is never far from our thoughts and our daily lives.

Each Sunday is a little Easter ƒ‚'€“ not only because of the day, but more importantly because on that day we as the Church across the world gather to celebrate the Eucharist. In this Eucharist Jesus one and only death and resurrection is renewed and becomes present for us again.

Each day is an Easter. There are dyings and risings in our lives, and Jesus is part and parcel of each of them. The Eucharist is celebrated daily in most of our churches and certainly around our Dioceses and world daily.

Some people are able to join in the daily celebration of the Eucharist. Most are not and it is not an essential for Christian living. For the full Christian life a regular weekly Eucharist is. It is then lived out during the week in the home and in what God has called us to in the world. We draw on that Sunday Eucharist as a real source of strength or fountain of nourishment for the week.

Each year though we have the Solemn Celebration of Easter. We go more deeply into this great mystery. The meaning of Easter also becomes clearer for us. Its reality becomes for us more like a guiding light. Easter time is a time when Jesus says something like this to us:- ƒ‚'€œLook, I can pull life out of anything. I can do that with your sins. I can do that with tragedy. I can do it with suffering and death. I can do it even when things happen because of the sins and failings of othersƒ‚'€.

Because of Easter I never need lose hope. I can always put my faith in Jesus. I can respond to situations (even sin and violence) his way and know that he can pull life out of it.

It is a powerful belief. Itƒ‚'€™s not an abstract belief but one which touches the core of my being. It is a belief in the person of Jesus.

This risen life of Jesus is deep within me and this is much more than Jesus ƒ‚'€œjust walking with meƒ‚'€ in life.ƒ‚‚‚  Jesusƒ‚'€™ liberating power and protective presence is truly within me.

May this powerful belief sustain us not only on Easter Sunday, or the Easter Season, but throughout the whole year.