Easter Message of fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land

//Easter Message of fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land

Easter Message of fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land

Beyond the darkness of death

Dear brothers and sisters,

each of us has had the painful experience of losing a loved one: a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child, a friend. It is a moment of suffering, darkness and despair that falls on each of us, and it is not quantifiable. The tears fall uncontrollably, and the sobs cut off the words in our throats. The more tragic the loss (accident, long and painful illness, sudden death) the more we struggle to digest that experience of irreversible loss that we call death.

So, the question arises: “Why?”. Not the philosophical question about the ultimate meaning of what happened but the question linked to the concrete person who passed away and the meaning that person had for us: “Why did it happen to him or to her that he or she died like this?” Which simultaneously means: “Why did it happen to me that I lost him or her?”.

But none of us has experienced what it means to slide irreversibly into the mystery of death, to feel life abandoning us and to feel abandoned by life, to feel the cold and darkness progressively take over our body and our mind and to breathe our last breath, sinking into death with the fear that we are about to sink into nothingness.

Jesus’ Easter speaks to us of His resurrection and reminds us that it is not a going back from the kingdom of the dead, it is not a sudden finding oneself reanimated as after a coma or an apparent death, but it is a going beyond, it is – precisely – a passage towards a form of life so new and full that we cannot even imagine it.

Mary Magdalene’s inability to recognize the Risen Jesus and then her revealing surprise when she hears her name called and finally her unrealistic desire to keep Him, this is the reaction that the encounter with the Risen One causes in us poor humans.

It is the same experience that the disciples on their way towards Emmaus had. Or indeed, the encounter with the risen Jesus is not the encounter with Him as dead and reanimated but it is the encounter with Him who now lives in God; it is the encounter with Jesus whose flesh, that is, whose humanity, is now completely transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit; it is the encounter with Jesus who shows us in Himself what we too will be in living together with Him, in His glorious Easter form, the experience of dying, now understood as a passing through and beyond death.

The empty tomb from which I speak to you is not the set of a film that tells a story invented by men who need to delude themselves that death is not the end of everything. The empty tomb from which I speak to you is the invention of a God who is our Father and loved each of us so much that he sent His Son to share our life, to the end, even to the point of experiencing death itself; to ensure that that Son could take us by the hand and lead us through death to be able to live in God, to be able to live fully, to be able to live eternally, to be able to live in a new way, resurrected together with Him.

This is why hope emerges from this empty tomb; a hope capable of illuminating even the worst experiences of life and death in which we can find ourselves immersed today.

This is why from this empty tomb I feel that I can tell you without the fear that it is an illusion: Happy Easter, for the Lord Jesus is truly risen. Happy Easter, let us rise with Him too! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

2024-03-31T12:58:14-04:00March 31st, 2024|Categories: News|0 Comments