In his Easter message the Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady said that while having or being a Christian could not spare anyone the full mental and emotional weight of life’s crises or traumas, the risen Christ offered the gift of peace in the middle of “physical, psychological and fiscal trials”.
“It is the gift which the risen Jesus offers to every one of us this Easter Sunday. It is a gift which can help to take us beyond the paralysis of fear in response to life’s most challenging events, including the fear of death. We scan the papers and watch the news for the first signs that our economy is ‘bottoming out’ and that the green and pleasant pastures of economic growth are returning. As one person said to me recently,” I just want to know how bad things are going to get.”
Cardinal Brady said that he was worried that many people were depriving themselves of a vital spiritual resource because they held an “outdated caricature” of the Church as joyless and harsh.
Nothing could be further from the truth said the Cardinal and the Christian message was not a rejection of the material world but an invitation to use the wealth of this world in a just and responsible way.
“For those who have learnt in recent months what it is to be fearful for the future, perhaps for the first time in their adult lives, the Christian message is about overcoming our fear.
It is important to acknowledge, he continued, “the spiritual and human resources which can contribute to the well being of individuals and society as we search for a way out of our current economic difficulties”.
For people with faith, Cardinal Brady said, “the green shoots of recovery are already appearing”.
Meanwhile, Church of Ireland archbishop John Neill in his sermon at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral said the recession showed that there was little in Ireland or the world that was unfading or imperishable.
“These last few months have seen the foundations of society, certainly of western society, shaken to the core. The property bubble began to burst, the financial institutions seemed to tremble, and very soon everything seemed to be in freefall. The old reliables, the old certainties, and the trusted securities, are no longer reliable, certain or secure”.
The archbishop said that when everything is shaken to the foundations, people are driven to ask whether there are any foundations there at all.
“We are naturally sceptical about quick recovery, and such scepticism is perhaps itself a negative force”.
Meanwhile in his homily at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the Easter message was one of joy for all humankind and for all of creation.
The resurrection freed us, he said from “being closed in on ourselves, within the framework of our limitations” and opened up a new way of finding ourselves “in the immensity of the love of God”.
This new life, Dr Martin continued, was different to all ideologies of violence.
“It is a style of life which rejects corruption and the desire for power and possession”.
The resurrection was, he said, an opportunity for a “concrete reaffirmation of humankind and creation” and for the establishment of relationships of harmony, truthfulness and integrity.
“Being believers in the gift of life means we must welcome and sustain life in all its forms,” Dr Martin added.
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