Clifton: Easter Message from Bishop Declan Lang

Bishop Declan Lang

Bishop Declan Lang

The recent report about the reduction in nuclear arms by Russia and the United States of America is good news.  One day, what may seem an impossible dream may come true, that nations will live in peace with one another, free from the fear of nuclear destruction.  Some people may think this a foolish dream but without dreams and visions as the Book of Proverbs says: "the people perish".  Hopes for the future give direction to our present lives.

Easter is good news.  After the darkness of Good Friday, when Jesus was nailed to a cross and died, much to the satisfaction of his enemies, the resurrection of Jesus gives a new meaning to life.  The scene on Calvary, the hill of Jesus' death, is a picture of cruelty and callousness.  But even here there is hope as Jesus prays: "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."

Today that prayer of Jesus is still needed.  I think we are often cruel and hateful or indifferent and apathetic towards one another without realising the full effect of what we are saying or doing.  Sometimes those negative feelings and actions can become so strong that life becomes oppressive.  Yet we continue to yearn for freedom and seek a life where we love and are loved.  Is that a foolish dream?  Can we be a people who live life rather than merely exist or survive? 

Apart from our own personal circumstances world news often seems gloomy and without hope.  There are wars and terrorist acts; there is hunger and poverty; there is abuse, cruelty and bloodshed and there are natural disasters which seem to threaten the most vulnerable populations of our world.  In addition there are threats to our environment which hang heavy on many. 

Bad news can seem to dominate.  Life can seem absurd or be determined by luck of the draw.  But life is not absurd and we can have a quality to our lives.  That is what Easter proclaims.  The way of Christ, the way of forgiveness and love towards all people without exception, is the way to life.  Love takes away the oppressiveness and darkness of life and enables us to live in peace within ourselves and with one another.  God made us for such a peace.  Easter is the promise that we are made for life and not even death itself can prevent this.  



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