EASTER MORNING 2018
Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Pro-Cathedral, 1 April 2018
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have put him” These words constitute a question for all of us. The question is posed to us here this morning, it is posed to the entire Christian community and to all those who wish to know Jesus. “Where do we find Jesus Christ?”
Many seek Jesus Christ but look in the wrong places and thus never really find him. There are many aspects of our contemporary culture that make it hard to discover and understand Jesus Christ or that may point us in the wrong direction.
We live in a secularised society. More and more people feel that they can live their daily lives without any direct reference to God. Many of them will still turn to the Church in special moments in their lives, but their relationship to God is fragile and tenuous.
Secularisation is not just about a fall in Mass attendance or weaker attachment of individuals to their faith. It is not about a political or media bias against the Church.
Where the overall presence of God in society diminishes or becomes relativized, then society as a whole begins to ask itself if God really matters at all. If society goes about its business without God really mattering, then the overall place of faith in society changes.
When the language of faith and the overall language of a society become more separated from each other, the danger arises that the men and women of that society do not have a language that opens them to God and or helps them find Jesus in their lives.
This is not something completely new and original to our times and our society. Our society is probably no worse than others. The history of salvation is a complex history of acceptance and reception. It is a story of God’s people living often in exile, in an alien place and under persecution. The people rebel and refuse and reject their God and create false God’s. It is however God himself who intervenes and his call reaches out in every generation to a people willing to return to him in fidelity and hope.
The story of the history of salvation is the story of the Church, of God’s people renewed in each new generation. Today still it is in the Church that we encounter the saving power of Jesus.
You might ask, what does that mean to the many in our world and in our diocese who find the Church alienating – to those who repeatedly proclaim that they believe in God but not in the Church?
The answer is that which we learn from the history of salvation. It is God himself who intervenes and his call reaches out in every generation to a people who are called to return to him in fidelity and hope.
The resurrection we celebrate at Easter is not just a distant memory, an event entirely of the past. The Risen Lord is among us. Through his resurrection, Jesus has changed human history and opened a path to new life. With his resurrection Jesus Christ transforms history and draws it to itself.
Christians are resurrection people. We are people of life and hope, people who understand that only a future filled with the hope of Jesus Christ will lead us and our society to true future.
The Church must always be pro-life, scrupulously respecting the dignity of every human life at every stage of its existence. The Church must also be a pointer to what life means, to what sustains rather than degrades life.
Easter is the celebration of resurrection and life as a hope for those who otherwise would have no hope. Jesus is to be found where his care is present with those who are marginalised in life, where people cannot achieve what life should open for them, through exclusion homelessness, oppression, and a culture of emptiness and exploitation.
The Church must be a beacon of hope, translating the teaching of Jesus into concrete help and support for those for whom the burdens of life can be so great as to empty their hearts of hope.
Jesus is risen and is with us and helps to be people of life and light in a time marked by many dimensions of darkness.
When we live that new life and light then others through our witness will begin to understand that challenge of the women at the empty tomb: where do we find Jesus and how must we live for Jesus among the living and not the dead. ENDS