Easter Message

The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine from where the worlds largest supply of sunflower oil is produced.  Apparently in days gone by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church banned the use of butter during Lent.  Sunflowers filled the gap!  Today we see images of a devastated Ukraine with tanks and guns dominating the landscape. Sunflower fields have become military pathways or fleeing fields for the threatened and desperate.  Flowers are being suffocated by war.

The sunflower season is almost over in Australia.  They are summer bloomers.  But there is still hope that we might see a burst of flowers in the Ukraine.  The summer there is still to come.  In the months ahead it is possible that those seeds might find room to germinate and space to grow and a sun to beckon them into flower and to bend their faces towards the warmth and light.  They then may give of their oil and enrich our lives.  The sunflower seed may be a sign of hope.  It may hold out for us the possibility and hope that war could give way to peace.

As we celebrate this Easter Sunday, the sunflower can also be a sign of the resurrection of the Lord.  The biblical texts so often use the image of a seed that is buried before it springs to life, as a way of talking about Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  And Easter Sunday is the day when we look for signs of resurrection.  We proclaim that God, in his mercy, has found a way to undo the death-dealing ways that human beings deal with each other.  Easter Sunday turns the table on violence, revenge and hatred.  Those were the things that buried Christ.  His resurrection is God’s answer to a fragile humanity that so often reverts to killing.  God is the God of life.  Death cannot and will not hold or define God.

Easter Sunday is the day for Christians to celebrate being united with the God who chooses life.  Not in some circumstance but in all.  Not for some people but for all.  Not for the worthy but for the worthy and unworthy alike.  Not for the well but more especially for the sick.  Not for the rich alone but with a preference for the poor.  Not just for my family but for the whole human family.

Easter Sunday is the day when Christians celebrate the God who raised up that which is weighed down and burdened, lifeless and weak, lost and broken.  It is the day when God raised Christ from the dead! And so Easter Sunday also sends Christians out into the world.  This good news, this insight into God is not meant to be bailed up in our Churches or in the confines of our homes.  Christians are called to be bearers of this resurrected life to which the world is an heir.  Easter Sunday may be a Christian celebration but the resurrection is God’s dream and hope for the entire world.  Christians should not give up hope and should not stop straining ahead, working with God’s vision for the future of the world where all are lifted up to life.

God draws humanity to Godself and just like the sunflowers which respond to the warmth and light of the sun so is Easter day the day for us to turn and bask in the light and life of the resurrection.

Fr Brendan

Easter Season Parish Priest Worship

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