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Inviting Jesus in

 I feel a sense of fondness and gratitude for all those people who, each day, contribute with small but valuable concrete gestures, to the good of the Diocese of Sandhurst. 

They try as best they can to fulfil their duty; they move through their lives, in their work and in their parishes with discernment and prudence, respecting others and, at times, signalling the things that do not work.
In these and a thousand other ways they concretely express love for their Catholic faith. Without speeches, without publicity, but just in the ordinary practices of everyday life they quietly co-operate for the common good.
Likewise, I feel great esteem for the parents, teachers and all educators who, with this same manner, try to form children and young people in faith and social awareness, in an ethics of responsibility, educating them to feel part of, to take care of, and to take an interest in the reality that surrounds them.
These people, even if they do not make the news, are the majority of the people who live in the Diocese of Sandhurst and throughout our country.
And some among them, many find themselves in conditions of economic difficulty. Yet they do not complain about it, nor do they harbour resentment and rancour, but they strive each day to do their part to make things a little better.
Today, in giving thanks to God for the great gift of the Resurrection of his son Jesus, I invite you to also express appreciation for all these artisans of the common good, who love their Catholic Faith, not only with words but also with deeds. We are indeed fortunate to live among such people of faith in these supportive networks!
Unfortunately, as well as those who open up to faith and hope, there are some who allow themselves to be closed within their pain. There are those who remain trapped among the ruins of life, and those who, with God’s help, pick up the ruins of life and rebuild with patient hope.
Pope Francis urges us all to “identify these little sepulchres that we have inside, and let us invite Jesus into them. It is curious, but we often prefer to be alone in the dark caves within us rather than invite Christ inside them.
We are tempted to always seek solutions for ourselves, brooding and sinking into anguish, licking our wounds, instead of going to him, who says, ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Mt 11:28).
He continues: “Let us not be held captive by the temptation to remain alone and discouraged, crying about what is happening to us. Let us not give in to the useless and inconclusive logic of fear, resignedly repeating that everything is going badly and nothing is as it once was. This is the sepulchral atmosphere.
The Lord instead wishes to open the path of life, that of encounter with Him, of trust in Him, of the resurrection of the heart, the way of: ‘Arise, come out’. This is what the Lord asks of us, and He is by our side to do so”.
As this month of April commences, we are celebrating Easter. We celebrate the fact that Christ is risen from the dead and that He lives in our hearts and minds through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of Life. In celebrating Easter, we are celebrating life itself, and life to the full.
The resurrection is narrated in the Gospels as a fact; it tells me that creation – this world which includes our bodily existence – has a destiny. Because the resurrection took place, Jesus is alive still in our midst. He is not just a memory of an event long ago. He is with us and He is with the Father in the glory of His risen body. The resurrection happened to Jesus and, because of that, it impacted the apostles and the women who encountered Him.
The message of the Resurrection must give us a passion for life, for truth and for good. If Christians have a passion for life then they should be in the forefront in the fight for life, at every moment of its existence, and in every dimension of what life means and should mean.
Christians should be driving forces for a society based on truth and integrity and honesty.
Christians should be driving forces for a society which robustly and courageously contests violence.
Christians should be driving forces for a society in which young people receive not just education and instruction, but also the reasons for hope.
We have to live in such a way that the energy of life and vitality which springs from Jesus’ resurrection can really touch our hearts and change our society.
But be under no misapprehension, this is utterly counter to how the world operates and so, in today’s world, although the resurrection has happened, there is still evil.
However, the Resurrection of Jesus, is a reality that changes everything in our lives. Everything we are and own and see is to be lived, and held and understood through the resurrection.
Furthermore, the words Jesus says on that first Easter Day, he says to you and me now: ‘Do not be afraid’. Jesus the crucified one is alive. In the hard journeys we all face, our faith community of believers in the Resurrection, must come alongside and, together with love and gentleness, bring restoration and hope. Christ is truly risen! Alleluia!.

- Bishop Les Tomlinson, Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

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