“I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5)
Dear colleagues and friends, dear brothers and sisters. We are facing difficult times. The Coronavirus-19 pandemic is a tremendous challenge for the Church, for all people worldwide, and for our common home. Yet the crisis is an opportunity to start anew. This is an urgent and complex calamity that requires new solutions: “new wine, new skins” (Mk 2:22), new ways of living, new ways of working, new models of development. In Easter, the risen Christ makes “all things new” (Rev 21:5), and He sustains us in our vulnerability, guides us through darkness, and reconciles us with the source of life. In the name of Card. Peter K.A. Turkson (Prefect), Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffe (Secretary) has prepared a simple and profound message to help us open our hearts to the Light and Life of Christ in this time of darkness and deaths. May the Lord bless each one of you and your families, and Blessed Easter.
Fr. Augusto Zampini, Adjunct Secretary
Easter Message in the context of the Covid-19 pandemia
1. On Easter morning, the Christian community, with its great and beautiful diversity in cultures, traditions and languages, affirms that Life is stronger than death. Christ, who shared our human condition through moments of injustice and suffering, is risen from death by God, his Father and giver of all life, growth and existence. And we believe that “he lives forever!” He comes to us in this moment of anguish and pain; He comes to heal the sick and bring new life to those who are in the darkness of loneliness, exhaustion and despair.
2. This Easter celebration, which is the heart of the Christian faith and celebrates the triumph of Life over death, acquires a peculiar meaning and relevance in light of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic. How can we say that Jesus Christ has risen and not feel overwhelmed with grief for those who are ill, for those who are dying, for those who mourn and for all who care for others to the best of their abilities? It is for them and all those who are experiencing this Easter season with concern and sadness, that we wish to announce that Life will prevail over death once again.
3. Christ has opened, for everyone, a path that leads to Life. The miracle of Resurrection includes all of creation; all living beings who we have cared for and loved, who are abandoned and die alone and all those fight with dignity and hope. All are called upon and are raised alongside Christ, "Firstborn from among the dead," over whom death has no power. The message of Resurrection is a message of hope for all inhabitants of our world, because God does not abandon anyone or anything to whom He gave life. It is in endless forgiveness that we can truly find a rebirth.
4. The "COVID-19 health and humanitarian crisis" is a serious global concern. Reflection and research about the origins and consequences of this pandemic are still in their initial stages, but there are uncertainties and questions that deeply disturb us. What has happened to us? What must we do to escape this death? What will become of humanity after the crisis? We are only beginning to understand that this pandemic was born from viruses found in all living organisms with which we share creation. But our common, that we received from God, “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). Our excessive use of resources and exploitation of living beings has put us on a path towards death. We are only beginning to understand the fundamental importance of building a new life that respects the balance on which all life rests, respecting Creation and its rich, beautiful biodiversity. We are only beginning to understand that a comprehensive conversion towards integral ecology that integrated care for non-human organisms with the health of human societies, is the only way we will be prepared to face the challenges of the future. This conversion, which we are called upon to carry out, will ensure that every organism retains its place in God’s creation and will enable us to discover that in the richness of our blessings, our functions, our roles and our experiences, we complement each other. Do we want to live the Easter of Creation?
5. The experience of our shortcomings in facing the pandemic and death of our friends, colleagues and loved ones, makes us understand that from now on nothing will be the same. This alludes to the radical transformation of Easter that is transition beyond mourning and death, to hope and Life. The logics of death must be abandoned so that we may live as responsible, humble and just men and women. We know that in choosing Life, we must also choose a new development model that protects nature, land and resources, requires us to work together in peace and solidarity and take care of the most vulnerable, adopting a humble life alongside the poor. Because we are a vulnerable whole, we experience fragility and solidarity. We all need each other in the shared responsibility of caring for precious Life.
6. In receiving the new life of Easter and inviting Christ to dwell in our spirits and bodies, we seek a new rhythm for our common story. We believe it: the risen Christ walks by our side. Even when we do not recognize him, he remains close by and reveals the meaning of the human experience. Our eyes are opened to the Risen One when he shares our bread (cf. Lk 24,13-35). Therefore, caring, sharing, encouraging and hoping, become verbs that represent the call to Life, so that we too can live as resurrected people, travelers between death and life.
7. On Easter morning, Christ reveals himself to Mary Magdalene and to those with an open heart to life and love. He is close to scientists, doctors, caregivers, and economic, financial, and political decision-makers who serve the common good and the poor. He sheds light on those who presently carry the burden of the future. We believe it and we understand it; we must share our resources, our capacities, our talents and create new forms of work and new employment; live a moral, social and financial solidarity (cf. Laudato Si’, 2015: 156, 157), considering the fundamental needs of humanity: health, education, human rights and spiritual life. Easter marks the beginning of a new epoch: a time for healing and restoring dignity for all. The time of encounter, justice and love.
8. History is not over. History opens up to a new beginning: each one of us is called to experience the resurrection with Christ. Like Abraham, "we hope against all hope" (Rom 4:18), like the prophets of the Bible, "we denounce" what is the source of death and "announce" Christ, who is the source of life (Is .41 and 42). Inspired by the Spirit of the Lord, dead and risen, we wish to announce that he is alive and that he calls us to abandon everything that leads to death to live as new beings, risen with him (cf. Act 2, 14-36).
9. Like Thomas (cf. Jn 20, 24-29), we can be fraught with doubt and think that it is necessary to see to believe. Christ resurrected returns to us. He lets himself be touched, through the testimony of those who give their lives, so that our faith may grow and bear fruit. When "we give what we ourselves have received" (Cf. 1 Cor. 11:23), the sign of our shared bread is the realization of the Paschal Lamb shared in memory of the liberating Easter.
10. The good news of Easter, which the first Christians communicated to us as encouragement is that "Christ is risen ... He is truly risen". For those of us who want to follow the footsteps of the living God, this is a message of encouragement and consolation, addressed to all brothers and sisters who have been affected in body, being and spirit. But it also represents the commitment of each baptized person, to share with their neighbor their faith and these word of encouragement and trust: "God loves you"; "Christ saves you"; "Christ is alive" (cf. Christus Vivit, 2019).
Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary