Service with Humility
As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the great feast of Easter, the Lord Jesus risen from the dead, let us pause to think about what this feast can mean for us. It is not just coming together to have a special meal, it is not just chocolate eggs and bunnies, it is not just family gatherings to share time and memories. Easter is a feast that not only brings us new life and grace, but a feast that challenges us to live this new life, this new creation that we are in Christ, in a particular way in our world.
Living the call of Easter is a challenge for all of us. When our meals are done, our chocolates eaten and people return to their homes, is it all over until next year? I think not. I would like to share a few thoughts given to us by Pope Francis in these past days, to help us learn how to live Easter.
We are challenged to live humbly in our world, and to serve with tenderness. The Pope notes that we are called to be "custos", protectors or caretakers, to protect the world, its blessings and, most importantly, its people. We are called to live tenderly and compassionately with one another, to strive for peace and justice, and to be an example of the risen Christ and his love to one another. This is not always easy today. There are many temptations, many who will entice us to follow another way or an easier path. A way that will pleasure us, but many times at the expense of others. The temptations are always there to selfishness, pride, jealousy, envy, retribution. Pope Francis notes that we must be caretakers or protectors of ourselves too, especially of our hearts. For from the heart will come love or hate, peace or turmoil, concern or neglect. Our heart is the source that guides our actions. Let our heart always be like the heart of Jesus Christ.
Easter is a time to celebrate the great mystery of God's love for us in Jesus. We cannot comprehend this love, it is beyond our imagining. However, this love touches us so initmately that we are transformed by it and become new creations in the Lord. As faithful followers of Jesus let us be sure to share this love and generousity with others in the way we live. Let us reach out especially to those in need and those who are struggling. They might be within our own families, among our co-workers or in our parish community. We are called to be humble servants in the Lord's vineyard, which is the world. Let us strive to be protectors and caretakers of one another in love and kindness, as Jesus would want us to be.
The challenge of living Easter is not just for a day, or a weekend, or even a week. It is for a lifetime. Can we rise to this challenge? Can we be those holy protectors and caretakers in our world? The grace of God will help us respond with generous, humble and tender hearts, and the risen Christ will show us the way. A Happy and Holy Easter to all.
+Most Rev. Fred J. Colli
Bishop of Thunder Bay