Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, has told Catholics in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to “allow the Risen Jesus to ‘Easter in us.’”
During his homily for the Easter Vigil Mass in an empty St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, Bishop Vincent also said that the coronavirus is questioning our understanding of the Church, and this Easter time provides us with a challenge to “seek Christ anew.”
Mass was broadcast live online into the homes of the faithful due to the closure of all church buildings as a result of the pandemic.
As per a decree issued by The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, sections of the Easter Vigil were omitted.
“This year, for the first time perhaps ever, Easter is celebrated in our virtually empty cathedral and in many churches around the world. Of course, we all hope that this strange phenomenon is only temporary and once the coronavirus crisis is over, we will be able to gather and to do things the way we did before,” Bishop Vincent said.
“The Gospel tonight speaks of the bewilderment and disillusionment of the disciples as they were confronted with an empty tomb. They were reassured that this was not a dead end and that Jesus had risen and had gone ahead of them to Galilee. A question to stimulate meditation for this strange Easter: Where is the Galilee of today or where we can encounter the risen Christ?
“We must learn to broaden radically the boundaries of our understanding of the Church. Pope Francis famously commented a passage from the Book of Revelation in which Jesus stands before the door and knocks. The Pope said: ‘Today Christ is knocking from inside the church and wants to get out.’
“But let us also recognise him in ordinary situations and in places beyond our comfort zone. Let us meet him among non-Catholics, non-Christians or even non-believers. Let us find him among the poor, the vulnerable and the wounded. Then we will recognise him by his wounds, by his voice when he speaks to us intimately, by the Spirit that brings peace and banishes fear.
“Let Easter get into us. Let Easter come and live where we live. Let Easter permeate our souls. Let Him Easter in us and be “a dayspring to the dimness of us”.
“In this holy season of Easter 2020, may we all allow the Risen Jesus to ‘Easter in us!’”
At St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill, parish priest Fr Alan Layt told his parishioners that through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are brought to a fullness of life, which is a reason for great joy.
“When Jesus is raised from the dead, He is raised to a fullness of divine and human life. His human body is the perfect instrument of the spirit. In no way does it limit it, but in fact, it allows Him to express Himself perfectly in our material world.
“We are called in baptism to participate in His Resurrection. We participate in His death through being plunged into water and we participate in His Resurrection – the participation that begins in baptism and is completed at the end of time with the general Resurrection of our own body.
“So for us, resurrection is not about being simply restored to the way we were supposed to be or simply restored to the way we are now, nor does it mean that we are restored to the way we were supposed to be before original sin – Jesus has taken this much further.
“In our Resurrection, we are brought again to life – to bodily life – in the way Jesus is now because in His own baptism, in our baptism, He’s given us His own Life. So we are to be brought to a fullness of divine and human life, completed ultimately in the Resurrection of our own body – a body that now will be the perfect instrument of our spirit, a spirit that is filled with the Holy Spirit, a spirit that is filled with the fullness of life – the life of Christ himself, the life of the God-Man.
“That is the promise made to each and every one of us – the gift offered to us in baptism, which we should be seizing with both hands, because this extraordinary victory over sin and death, which we’ve celebrated over the Easter Triduum has been given to us, and that is a reason for great joy.”
Parishes around the Diocese of Parramatta celebrated the remainder of the Easter Triduum to parishioners through online livestreams on Facebook and YouTube.
Fr Peter Williams was the main celebrant at the 11am Easter Sunday Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral.