Fr General CSsR writes - Easter 2015
CONGREGATIO SS. REDEMPTORIS
Roma, 2 April, 2015
Holy Thursday – Paschal Triduum
Prot. Nº 0000 116/2015
Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Associates and Friends,
This evening with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we begin the Sacred Paschal Triduum of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Each year, we are invited to enter into this mystery through prayer and contemplation, liturgical celebration and service to those in need. “As helpers, companions and ministers” (c. 2), of the Redeemer, he “continues to fulfil the will of his Father by carrying on the redemption through us” (c. 52). What a wonderful and privileged vocation is ours! With joy and hope, let us say “yes” to this invitation with heartfelt gratitude.
As we approach these feasts, it is important for us to celebrate the deeper meaning of the Resurrection. As Pope Francis teaches in Evangelii Gaudium (#275-276), when we are tempted to think that nothing will change in this world of ours, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death, and that not only is change possible, it is promised and guaranteed! “Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up”. As our Constitutions remind us, we must “become signs and witnesses before people of the power of his resurrection, proclaiming the new and eternal life” (c. 51).
To celebrate Easter in this Year of the Consecrated Life reminds us that we walk the same path as Jesus who gave himself up to death and ascended victorious through his resurrection: this path is the “way of virginity, poverty and obedience, the way of service and sacrifice of self unto death” (c. 50). This is the call to leave the upper room, to open the doors locked out of fear, and to enter the markets and the peripheries, the byways and the cities with a message of joy!
“Don’t be closed in on yourselves, don’t be stifled by petty squabbles, don’t remain hostage to your own problems. These will be resolved if you go forth and help others to resolve their own problems, and proclaim the Good News. You will find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, love by giving love. I ask you to work concretely in welcoming refugees, drawing near to the poor, and finding creative ways to catechize, to proclaim the Gospel and to teach others to pray” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter to all Consecrated People, Expectations #4)
At the Easter Vigil this year, we will listen to the story of the empty tomb from the Gospel of Mark. This is the first recorded testimony of the Resurrection. Listen to the words of the young man whom the women encounter in the tomb. These words are addressed to you; they are addressed to me, to each one of us. “There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. You must go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will meet him, just as he told you’.” (Mark 16:6-8).
Let us go to Galilee – out to the streets and the markets, the peripheries and the cities – to meet the Risen Lord. “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus” (EG 1). To quote Pope Francis: “Where there are religious, there is joy”.
In this spirit of encounter, I wish you the joy, life and hope of Easter! With Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, with St. Alphonsus and all our Saints, Blessed and Martyrs, with one another and with the abandoned and the poor, let us proclaim with our voices and with our lives: “He is not dead. He is risen. We have met the Lord. He lives!”
Your brother in the Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.