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Editorial: Easter homilies speak to the hope of the Resurrection

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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The Church’s message of Easter hope, found in the being of the Risen Christ, is needed more than ever during this coronavirus pandemic. As we face this Easter season with uncertainty, we thank our priests and bishops for continuing to remind us of the Good News of Easter — the source of all hope and joy. The following is a collection of excerpts from Easter homilies that we found to be particularly inspiring at this time of crisis. We hope you agree.

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“We hear plenty about emptiness these days, don’t we, thanks to the dreaded pandemic. Empty dinner tables for Passover and Easter because family and friends can’t get together. Empty schools and factories, restaurants, roads and airplanes. Empty wallets, empty bank accounts, empty chairs at home where those we cherished used to sit with us. Empty churches and empty collection baskets … empty lives. Some wonder, as they’re tempted to conclude, all that filled their days before might now be gone. I ask this Paschal morning: Could the empty tomb of Easter be a metaphor for our world and our lives? Could it be a whispered invitation from the Risen One to search for the living one not among the dead? … Emptiness might be a blessing, not a curse, as the God of the living fills us with light, meaning, resolve, hope and life won by the God of the Passover and by Jesus, who is risen as he says: ‘Alleluia, alleluia!'”

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archdiocese of New York

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“Today … we hear the Easter bells as a call to solidarity among all the members of our community so that in the face of the pandemic, we might respond to witness to the power of the Resurrection, the power of love that is stronger than death, and faith in a provident God who can always bring good out of evil. To know the risen Lord is to know his love, and his invitation to lead a better life, to treat each other with greater respect and concern. To know Jesus’ Resurrection is to begin to understand that we too are going to live forever. In the light of the Resurrection, our lives must change. We must move beyond the materialism and individualism of our culture and embrace our mission to witness to the Good News and make God’s kingdom more visible by the way that we love, forgive, care for each other, and serve one another, especially those who are sick and suffering.”

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston

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“If there is a time that our faith is tested, this is it. How are we going to put our faith into practice these days of Easter and for the future? Easter celebrates the passage of the old to the new, from death to life, from sin to grace. What we are going through right now is an opportunity to do just that. To renew ourselves, to renew our lives, to renew our faith, and to renew our world.”

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts

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“Surely we have to be able in our own lives to give witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have to be joyful even in the midst of a global pandemic. We have to be able to give witness by our service, by our outlook, by our joy, that we believe there is more to life than what we see in these days. And that we have a share in Jesus’ resurrected life. … In the midst of this 2020 crisis, we have that opportunity to show that we’re redeemed, to look as if we were redeemed, by serving our brothers and sisters, by being willing to go that extra mile, by recognizing that there’s something more than this world, that we have a share in Christ’s everlasting life because of his death and resurrection. It changed the lives of those apostles, it’s changed our lives through baptism, and we now have that opportunity, through our witness, through our testimony, to change the world as well.”

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

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“My brothers and sisters, no virus can destroy our hope and our joy today or ever. Our faith in the resurrection of Jesus, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting fills us with this hope and joy. Easter teaches us that God has conquered death, that his love is stronger than death.”

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana

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“We’ve all lost. In the Covid-19 world of these months, we’re all losers. But some have lost more than others. Those who are sick and those who have died are particularly on our minds tonight. They have lost much and their families have, too. We’re all losers. But in the middle of all this loss, and as we dwell in our loserdom, we have small wins, small victories — like someone who’s recovered from COVID-19, someone who thought they had it and it turns out they didn’t, signs of faith with babies being born, people’s faith being renewed, families being together, health care heroes being raised up on a pedestal. These are small victories that make us think that maybe we’re not the losers we thought we were. Yesterday was Good Friday, and it looked like we lost. We know that Jesus was conceived and born. He lived, he taught, he healed, he raised people from the dead. He told us he is God and that he would die to save us. And so what happened? Yesterday, on Good Friday, it looked like we all had lost. We saw his mangled body spit upon, beaten, tortured, crowned with thorns, nailed to a cross. We heard him say, ‘It is finished.’ We heard him breathe his last. We lost. The savior of the world who came to save us was no more. God died. If all we had was Good Friday, if that’s where the story ended, we would indeed all be losers. But at this Easter Vigil, and by the light of this candle, we know it is not so.”

Father Brian O’Brien, St. Francis Xavier Church, Stillwater, Oklahoma

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“Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, with a passing smile. No. It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well,” clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life. … Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried hope, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!”

Pope Francis

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young

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