Sorry, this entry is only available in French.
our Easter, marked by terrorist events in Brussels, Yemen, Iraq, and most recently in Lahore, ought not to be reduced to a set of sad news items, feelings of impotence or accumulated fears. It is the Passover that Jesus offers us conquering death, and therefore a call to overcome all deaths, personal and social. Yet without shutting our eyes to reality. Let us remove walls of fear, lack of faith, self-pity, or prejudice against Islam or the Muslims of good faith we all know. Let us remove the walls that imprison us or others, and place our gaze on the Risen Lord, a gaze that is not exempt from fear, like the gaze of the women who go to the tomb of Jesus, like the gaze of his own disciples. A human, understandable fear. It is hard for them to accept that the situation has changed, but the Spirit leads them to look to Jesus with the joy of a good friend meeting another. A happy Easter to all, to all those with whom we relate, to all our friends who have problems, to all families and fraternities. Brother Charles wrote on the day of his death that one must die in order to give life. His centenary is an enduring call to contemplate what is meaningless for many people, who only live for money, for security, to be at peace without a care for the pain of others. May the Risen Jesus help us turn bitter water into a fine wine that brings joy to the feast and to day to day life, the life of Nazareth.
Our brother Giuseppe COLAVERO yesterday (Easter Monday) afternoon lived his Easter and his encounter with the Father. We are saddened by the loss of this dear brother and fighter on behalf of the poorest, the founder and soul of the AGIMI (Dawn) association, and good shepherd of his people. We unite ourselves to his people, the Fraternity of Italy. For several months we had been following the progress of his illness, and how cerebral glioblastoma affected his life but not his generous and combative spirit on behalf of the many people he helped. Also a few weeks ago our brother Hermann STEINERT, from Germany, departed us. Both are together with the Lord beholding his face and his heart of a Father. May Hermann and Giuseppe protect and help us. Their fellowship with us has not come to an end.
I encourage you to live this Easter with the joy of the pardoned, as beloved sons of the Father, as the little brother who learns from his elder brother, Jesus, the Lord. Live it with the joy to which Pope Francis invites us. From Europe we feel wounded but not defeated; ashamed for the fate of the Syrian refugees who do not find the door open, like humans who enjoy full rights. How can we integrate these painful realities into our preaching and mission? The European governments are making arrangements costings millions of euros to leave these people in the care of another country. The poor cause annoyance, crowd the streets, foul the place, pitch their tent among us, fight among themselves too, and fall into the hands of the mafia that control their future…
What do we say as Christians, as pastors in our parishes? Who has the right word to foster hope without false utterances, without betraying the Gospel? I encourage you to ponder all this in adoration, before Jesus, who was an emigrant, who had to flee along with his family, who was also a refugee and before his death, a prisoner. Let us contemplate how we cannot remain indifferent to anybody this Easter; our silence would be complicity with injustice. Charles de FOUCAULD, out of his friendship with Jesus, – the Forsaken on the Cross, he who seeks us at the lake shore, he who lives in the shack of the most impoverished, in the refugee camp, or next to a barbed-wire border fence, or in front of the sign that says: “crossing forbidden”, or “for members only” – puts the Risen Jesus before us as a grain that falls on the ground and gives much fruit…
I write this letter to you while accompanying a sick woman to hospital. All speaks to me of humanity and of Jesus; in the smile and the gaze of so many people; in the concerned faces of others; in the silence of the one who hides their pain and of the one who sleeps. I share this contemplative moment as the Easter of joy that overcomes the cry, of the human and Christian values that are in many people and which, from the silence and the celebration in their heart, awake a smile in us, and believe that another world is possible, and that this person is my sister or brother, and that no one should make the friends of Jesus shut up, but who acclaim him as Lord and as companion on the path, wherever they are..
A big Easter embrace with the joy of being your little brother.
Hospital Rafael Méndez, Lorca, Murcia, Spain,
29th March, 2016, Tuesday of Easter Week
(Thanks, dear Liam, for the English version)