Easter Message

Thursday, March 13, 2008

EASTER MESSAGE OF H. E. CARDINAL CLÁUDIO HUMMES
PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY
2008

Dear Priests, permanent Deacons and Catechists,

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate at Easter, brings new life to the Church and cheers the people of God, who sing a new song to the Lord. In the Apocalypse, he said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld” Rev 1:17-19). Yes, the Risen Lord is the guarantee of the final victory of life. Death has been destroyed. The last word is up to life and love. This is the safe and joyful hope which gives meaning to our life and to the history of humanity. Christ is Risen! He accompanies us along our earthly pilgrimage. He enlightens us and strengthens us as we read in the episode of the disciples of Emmaus, on the afternoon of Resurrection day. By accepting the message of Emmaus and inspired by a prayer of Benedict XVI to the Risen Jesus, Lord of history, we pray:

“Stay with us Lord, for it is getting toward evening and the day is now nearly over.”(Lk 24:29)

Stay with us Lord, keep us company, even though we have not always recognized you.

Stay with us, because all around us the shadows are deepening, and you are the Light; discouragement is eating its way into our hearts: make them burn with the certainty of Easter. We are tired of the journey, but you comfort us in the breaking of bread, so that we are able to proclaim to our brothers and sisters that you have truly risen and have entrusted us with the mission of being witnesses to your resurrection.

Stay with us, Lord, when mists of doubt, weariness or difficulty rise up around our Catholic faith; you are Truth itself, you are the one who reveals the Father to us: enlighten our minds with your Word, and help us experience the beauty of believing in you.

Remain in our families; enlighten them in their doubts; sustain them in their difficulties; console them in their sufferings and in their daily labours, when around them shadows build up which threaten their unity and their natural identity. You are Life itself: remain in our homes, so that they may continue to be nests where human life is generously born, where life is welcomed, loved and respected from conception to natural death.

Remain, Lord, with those in our societies who are most vulnerable; remain with the poor and the lowly of all the world, who suffer unjust restrictions in participating in the banquet of goods and in expressing the richness of their culture and the wisdom of their identity. Remain, Lord, with our children and with our young people, who are the hope and the treasure of our world: protect them from so many snares that attack their innocence and their legitimate hopes. O Good Shepherd, remain with our elderly and with our sick. Strengthen them all in faith, so that they may be your disciples and missionaries!

To all, a Holy and Happy Easter!

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