To those Consecrated and involved in the life of the Church and society,
To Parents, Children, Youth, both Men and Women,
To Parish Communities,
Brothers and Sisters,
The Apostle Paul said in his Epistle to the Corinthians: "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Cor 15/14). The Resurrection is the dialectic of life and death. Unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it will not give fruit.
The word “Easter” means the pass over from darkness to light, from captivity to freedom and from death to life. Hence, the Cross has no meaning if it is not the sign of the Resurrection and the manifestation of God's mercy.
In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis, how can we live our Easter? How can we deepen the inner spiritual and the external relational levels? How to optimize the interdependence between the Resurrection and mercy?
I invite you to meditate on two key points:
- The mercy and fullness of life:
This mercy is the heart of the christian life. It makes us know in Jesus Christ, the merciful face of the Father. We remember the memorable response of Jesus to Philip: "who has seen me has seen the Father." These words spoken during the farewell discourse at the end of the Passover meal, followed by the events of holy days confirm that "God is mercy".
We repeat Saint John's words "No one has ever seen God," to give more exposure to the truth that "the only Son, who has his being from God: He has seen the Father."
In this "revelation" of Christ, we, first, know God in his love for man. His "invisible perfections" become "visible" in Christ and by Christ through his actions and his words, his death on the cross and his resurrection: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6, 36). Therefore, our entire perfection is described in this sentence: to become like our Heavenly Father! "So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5: 48).
- The Resurrection: The Revelation of Mercy
This divine dimension of redemption is realized in the act of making out of love the creative force through which human has, once again, access to the fullness of life and holiness that comes from God.
The Paschal Mystery is the culmination of this endeavor, capable of justifying the human to its original image based on the salvific plan that God had wanted from the beginning. This mystery is the supreme act of God's mercy.
Even in the glorification of the Son of God, the cross continues to be present. Believing in the crucified Son means "seeing the Father," means believing that love is present in the world, and that this love is more powerful than the evils of all kinds. It is to believe that, without mercy, the souls become like a barren land where the desert advance relentlessly devouring hope.
To know that mercy is not "something" but "someone": Jesus Christ. Saint John Paul II tells us: "You cannot understand mercy but by experiencing Christ in your life. As it was for Peter and Paul, this experience is simply called "reconciliation", "forgiveness." Christ is the door, as embodied image of mercy of the Father, to introduce us into the mystery of the Kingdom of God" (cf. Redemptoris hominis, n. 9).
The risen Jesus wants to enter our lives and engrave with his presence our being, both human and spiritual. He wants to flood us with kindness and compassion. The risen did forever roll away the stone from the tomb, and the light of his mercy has spread in the hearts of those who trust Him. Therefore, we are all called to do this experience of God's mercy that may transform our daily lives.
We need to know what intimate connection there exists between Easter and the revelation of mercy, otherwise, the resurrection of Jesus may seem to us like a strange event or foreign to our destiny. It is the smile of God in the eyes of Jesus alive. We cannot be proud of ourselves, of our behavior, like the disciples in the Passion. But we do not stop there: leaving to dwell on us the friendly sight of the Risen, we are "recreated" and renewed by the confidence God gives us.
It was necessary that God "renews His mercies," as the psalm says. His mercy is renewed by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, we, Christians, are invited to live the Resurrection in our lives. The Resurrection, act of God's mercy, encourages us today to realize that:
- To forgive yourself and others is an act of mercy.
- To love oneself and others is an act of mercy.
- To have a look of love toward others is an act of mercy.
- To recognize the other as a close is an act of mercy (the Good Samaritan).
- To live in patience is an act of mercy.
- To reach out to the poor is an act of mercy.
- To visit a sick person or a prisoner it is an act of mercy.
While wishing you a happy Easter, I pray the Risen Christ to fill your lives with His Easter graces.
With my blessing and prayer.
Christ is Risen…! He is truly Risen!
+ Paul-Marwan TABET