Bishop Seamus' Easter Message
On Easter Sunday we are drawn, along with Mary Magdalene and the disciples, to the borrowed tomb in which our Lord and Saviour had been buried so unceremoniously and with such haste two days before. As Christians we are invited to engage with the miraculous events that unfolded that morning and to stand alongside the disciple that Jesus loved who simply saw and immediately believed. In another account of the same moment Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Lord and mistaking him for the gardener pleads for the body of Jesus. Yet as soon as He utters her name Mary comes to realise in whose presence she is standing. Mary is then urged by the risen Lord to go and tell the others. In these two accounts of the same morning we glimpse the very heart of the Christian life. We are to gaze upon the Lord with the eyes of faith and, in response to his command, go and tell the others.
Today and every day our faith calls us to see and to believe. We are to behold the Lord’s presence in our lives. When, His Eminence Cardinal Tagle visited our Diocese he reminded us to behold the Lord’s presence, visible seldom in dramatic ways but in the small details of our lives. This Easter let us open our eyes to see the light of Christ in the countless moments of grace. For it is in the loving care of our families and friends, the kindness of strangers, the prayerful support of our parish communities and in the many and varied selfless acts we hear about that the risen Lord comes to us. The more we seek the Lord’s presence in our lives through prayer, the more we will find him.
Recognising the Lord in our lives is the first step of the Easter journey, the second echoes the words spoken to Mary Magdalene: go and tell the others. The Christian life cannot remain in the first step without engaging in the second. The presence of the risen Lord transforms how we view the world and how we view each other. Each of us will be presented with numerous opportunities every day to proclaim the love of the Father by the manner of our lives. The words we utter, the actions we carry out and the prayers we offer reveal to others a people who walk in the light of Christ; a people who are the light of Christ. Again, our witnessing is very often not in the dramatic events, but in the small details of life. Telling others is rooted in how we see one another. We are to behold the Lord’s presence in each other – to see the other person as God sees them and to strive to love them as the Father does.
My prayer for you all this Easter is that you may come to behold the Risen Lord even within the smallest moments and detail of your lives and that seeing others as God sees them you may go and tell them of the Father’s love.
I wish you and all your loved ones a very happy Easter.
Rt Rev Séamus Cunningham
Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle