Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends of the College,
During the Palm Sunday celebration at the start of Holy Week, we knelt as the words of the Gospel proclaimed: “But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up his spirit.” As I knelt, my thoughts were again pondering the horrible events that have taken place in Syria in recent times and how innocent people are suffering and being systematically slaughtered without any regard or respect for the sanctity of human life. I thought how good Jesus was in his words and actions. Jesus represented the ultimate good to the world but evil destroyed him in earthly terms. I was saddened by the reality that evil often robs our world of goodness. The slaughter of innocent men, women and children is evil taking goodness from us. Other forms of evil in our world exist and it saddens me that century after century this is the case. Our world is broken.
The dramatic events celebrated during Holy Week draw attention to the brokenness of our world. The conspiracy against Jesus and his betrayal leading to his brutal crucifixion mirrors in a sense the actions of evil in our world today. We do not see any hope in the images of children choking and dying from chemical weapons or in a city such as Aleppo being destroyed, but in the death of Jesus we do see hope. The disciples could not grasp this hope entirely while Jesus was teaching and preaching among them. They continually misunderstood Jesus in earthly terms time and time again. It was only through experiencing Jesus as alive that ignited resurrection faith. Reflecting on his words and deeds in light of this experience was when the disciples gradually discerned the greatest mystery of our faith. They were then transformed from cowering followers to courageous preachers of Jesus raised from the dead. The community of faith, the Church, was then born.
Easter is the most important doctrine of our faith, and we must remember that the Gospel stories that narrate the resurrection accounts were composed with resurrection faith some forty to seventy years after the discovery of the empty tomb. During this Easter season our faith calls us to hear anew the words of Jesus spoken to the terrified disciples: “Peace be with you.” These are the first words of Jesus to the disciples when he appears to them in the upper room. Despite his violent death and recognizing the distressed emotional state of the disciples, Jesus provides reassurance.
This Easter we need to hear and become preachers of peace. The hope that the risen Lord gives us in eternal life must also inspire us to work for the peace that Jesus desires the world to have. We can be assured through our own resurrection faith that despite the evil in the world goodness will ultimately prevail because of Jesus being raised from the dead. With the birth of the Church comes the responsibility to engage in the mission of Christ which is to help bring about the Kingdom of God in our midst. May the Spirit of the risen Christ empower each us to do our part in our daily lives.
Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E.’86
Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry