Easter message 2019 - Archbishop Paul-André Durocher
Easter Message 2019
When Jesus of Nazareth was judged, tortured and executed by the Romans in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, His friends, family and followers were frightened. They feared being judged as well because the preaching and actions of their Master angered the local leaders. Moreover, His friends, family and followers were deeply disappointed. They believed for a moment that this man was the Messiah prophesied by the prophets. In their eyes, His death not only confirmed the folly of their hope but demonstrated God’s judgement. Anxious and depressed, they went into hiding or moved away from Jerusalem.
But a few days later, they found themselves full of joy, courage and enthusiasm. And some even returned home to Jerusalem. So, what happened that drastically changed their lives? They said that Jesus was risen! Not only was His body resurrected, but it was transformed, radiant with life, freed from the constraints of time and space. Seeing Him transformed their understanding of what happened. Despair turned to hope, darkness to light, and condemnation to love.
One day I gave a copy of Luke’s Gospel to a man in prison who was looking to fill his time. When I saw him a few days later, he was very excited. "Did you read this?" he asked me. "Yes" I replied. "It is written that a good and righteous man named Jesus, was condemned and killed but returned to life. Do you believe that?” His question caught me by surprise. He was essentially asking me to recite the creed, in this prison cell. I simply replied, "Yes, I believe that." And he commented, "because, you know, if this is true, it changes everything!
He intuitively seized what the Apostles of Jesus had experienced long ago and what thousands of Christians experience to his day. What do you think? Do you think He is risen? What difference does this make in your life? Perhaps as Easter approaches, it would be good to think about this seriously, to reread the Gospel, to bring this question into your prayers, perhaps even to discuss it with your relatives. Believe me, following the risen Christ changes everything!
† Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau