April 4, 2021
Again, it’s lockdown for the Holy Days. How sad! Only a handful of people will be able to participate in parish celebrations. And we won’t be able to get together with our families and friends to celebrate Easter. This pandemic is robbing us of important moments in our lives. It forces us to retreat to our homes, which, for many, amounts to complete isolation.
Some will say that our Christian faith is based on belief in the resurrection of Christ, on the conviction that death did not have the last word in his life. Some will say that we should not despair and that there will be better days after this dark passage.
I believe this is true, but it seems to me that the Good News of Jesus is more than a biblical version of the saying, “There’s a calm after every storm.” Celebrating Easter is more than drawing rainbows and telling ourselves, “It’s going to be okay.” It’s at least this, certainly, but it’s so much more.
Celebrating Easter is not only believing that one can live again after death, it is believing that life springs from death itself, that death can be a source of life. This is what Jesus taught his disciples: “If the grain of wheat that has fallen to the ground does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
Celebrating Easter is therefore believing in the value of Good Friday, in the difference the death of Jesus makes in our lives and in the world. It is to discover with the disciples of Jesus that his very death is the source of life because it overflows with love for us.
Celebrating Easter isn’t just about believing that the pandemic will pass and that we will once again experience better days. It’s believing that life is hidden in the very heart of this pandemic, that it is trying to show itself, to speak to us and to transform us.
Celebrating Easter is not just believing that good weather will return after the rain, it’s believing that the rain itself has a purpose, that it is beneficial and necessary. As the famous prayer for peace attributed to Saint Francis puts it: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving of ourselves that we receive, and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.”
For each and every one of you, for your families and for your friends, I pray that Easter this year will be a time of reflection, prayer and renewal. The pandemic forces us to dig deep within ourselves to find the necessary resources to endure it: it’s in these depths that we will find the presence of the One who descended to hell to raise us up with him to the fullness of life.
A blessed, joyful Easter to all!
Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau
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