Easter this year 2005 comes early. The daffodils are still with us and the green leaf is still budding. The lambs are frolicking in the fields and the doves are cooing as they engage in their springtime encounters. Easter, in spiritual terms, is never early or late. It comes at the end of a long period of Grace, a period of renewal and reconciliation, a period called Lent. This period of Grace leads up to the solemn celebration and re-enactment of the " three Sacred Days" of Holy Week, culminating in the Easter morn mystery of the triumph of love over hatred, of grace over sin, of life over death in the Person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. As we sing our Easter "Alleluias" this year, may we all realise, within each one and within the communities in which we live, the plan of God for humanity, that is that we respect all human beings for whom they are, namely precious and unique beings eternally loved by God; that we respect them all, irrespective of their age, gender, race or creed, as children of God called to an eternal relationship of love, a love that never deludes, a love that cost the shedding of the Blood of Jesus Christ. May the great gift of peace, the Paschal promise, become a reality in our families and communities, in our Country and in all the troubled parts of the world. May each one who celebrates the Easter Feast this year take up the task of being a peace-broker, a peace maker for the betterment of human relationships and the harmony of the human family. May the beauty of nature's springtime, the handwork of God, the Creator, be protected always and may it be matched by the beauty of humankind so that we can all live in an environment of good and healthy living and in generous caring for one another. A Happy and Blessed Easter to all! + John Magee. Bishop of Cloyne.
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