By Vatican News
“This year we celebrate the victory in Christ over death, at a time when the world is struggling with the COVID 19 pandemic, that is ravaging the world causing mourning and suffering among all peoples”.
Celebrating in a new way
A joint message from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) notes that “Christians are preparing to commemorate the passion and death of Christ, to celebrate His resurrection in glory in a completely new way”. Precisely in these circumstances, when many people are confined to their homes or in voluntary self-isolation, “this year believers will celebrate the victory of life hoping to fight death”.
The message, signed by COMECE President Archbishop Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, and the Reverend Christian Kreiger, President of CEC, insists that now, “more than ever, current events remind us how much hope is a dimension of faith”.
Bearers of hope
The two Christian leaders express the hope that the Easter Gospel may stir “this breath of hope in the hearts of thoughts of Christians”, so that they in turn may become “bearers of hope and light in our world ravaged by much suffering”.
They conclude their message with the prayer, “May God, thrice holy, He who is and who is to come, bless His humanity and keep it”, before concluding with the traditional Easter acclamation, “Christ is risen, He is truly risen!”
In an interview with Giancarlo La Vella of Vatican News, Cardinal Hollerich returned to the theme of Christian hope. “I think Easter is really for us a great time to deepen our faith”, he said. “We need to go into the depths of our heart, where we find fears, we find loneliness, and we find a lot of things in our own heart which are capable [of bringing] us down. But at the same time if we look at our heart with a look of faith, we shall find hope.”
Cardinal Hollerich said we are all “a little bit like Simon, who helped the Lord carry His Cross”. He noted especially doctors and nurses, sick people, those who are dying, who “help to carry that Cross, which is the cross of humanity”. But, he said, we are all called to carry different crosses, which we do “through small gestures… gestures of love and charity”, as Pope Francis tells us.
“And if we succeed in carrying thus the cross of Christ”, Cardinal Hollerich said, “we shall see that Christ in fact is carrying our cross, and He gives us consolation, and the grace of hope, because Christ is truly risen from the dead”.
Joint Easter Message: Full text
The full text of the Joint Easter Message from Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich and Reverend Christian Kreiger can be read below:
Christians are preparing to commemorate the passion and death of Christ, to celebrate his resurrection in glory in a completely new way. This Easter believers will be unable to come together to pray and sing together, gather to be silent before God, listen to his word, meet together to share the bread and the cup.
This year we celebrate the victory in Christ over death, at a time when the world is struggling with the COVID 19 pandemic, that is ravaging the world causing mourning and suffering among all peoples. Confined to our homes or in voluntary self-isolation, this year believers will celebrate the victory of life hoping to fight death.
More than ever, current events remind us how much hope is a dimension of faith. "For in hope we were saved,"affirms Apostle Paul in the epistle to the Romans, before continuing: "Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."(Romans 8. 24-25).
May the Easter Gospel stir this breath of hope in the hearts and thoughts of Christians, may the breath of God animate our steadfast expectation so that the Church and each and every one of us become bearers of hope and light in our world ravaged by much suffering.
May God, thrice holy, He who is, who was and who is to come, bless His humanity and keep it.
Christ is risen, He is truly risen!
Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ
Archbishop of Luxembourg
President of COMECE
Rev. Christian Krieger
President of CEC