Reflection: Easter, a time for hope

Here we are in Holy Week. We find ourselves amidst the clutter and noise, balancing competing demands for our precious time and filtering the ‘Easter-themed’ advertisements for chocolates, food and sporting events. As Easter approaches, the Church invites us to stop for a while and to ponder what it is that we are celebrating.

The people who appear in the Gospel narratives of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, told again as Christians gather to remember in these days ahead, might be well-known to us. Perhaps we have met some of them in daily life …

  • The servant girl who challenged Peter about his connection to Jesus, and Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus, remind us of the personal struggles we have to speak the truth when we feel frightened or threatened, when our dreams seem to be disappearing before us.
  • Simon of Cyrene, the passerby who is called upon to carry the cross of Jesus, reminds us of those people who come into our lives briefly, respond to a call, and then continue their journey. Our paths never cross again.
  • The women who stood at the foot of the cross remind us of those faithful people, friends and carers who accompany those in distress and remain with them, even when the situation seems hopeless.

Suffering, betrayal and death are not the final words. The Easter story is one of hope. New life can burst through even after the most horrific events. Within Mercy Ministry Companions we have many examples among our staff, our volunteers and those we serve, which reveal the strength of the human spirit in times of crisis. They remind us that Easter is not a ‘one off’ event. The message of Easter can energise us to enliven the mission of our organisations and to live our values in our service of others through the ordinary events of life. Catherine McAuley gave us this practical advice: “The simplest and most practical lesson I know is to resolve to be good today – but better tomorrow … thus we may hope to get on – taking short careful steps, not great strides. [Letter to de Sales White, February 28, 1841]

During the coming Easter days, you are invited to spend some time reflecting in your ‘quiet space’.

  • There may be suffering in your life at present which feels like a heavy cross on your shoulders.
  • There may be signs of growth and personal breakthroughs in difficult circumstances.
  • Someone dear to you may be experiencing a crisis of faith or self-confidence.
  • There may be sheer joy in the fact that you or someone you love has moved through a dark place to find renewed meaning and purpose in life.

In our tumultuous world, it can be difficult to see signs of hope. We are invited to be people of hope. The words of St Paul provide an Easter blessing for all within our ministries:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13]

Annette Schneider RSM

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