Bishop Anthony’s Easter Message 2014
2014 Easter Message from Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Catholic Bishop of Parramatta
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The Dominican artist and blessed, Fra Angelico, painted a fresco of the Resurrection for the convent of San Marco in Florence in the 1440s.
The holy women of Jerusalem who accompanied Christ all the way to His Cross and Tomb return around dawn on Easter morning with their ointments in hand to finish the process of burial. One of them is staring into the tomb and all of them look more than a little puzzled at finding the tomb empty!
The Gospel reports that an angel came from heaven, rolled away the stone from the tomb and sat upon it. He shone with a dazzling white light and told the stunned women not to be afraid.
They were to go and tell the other disciples that Jesus had Risen from the dead and would meet them in Galilee where He would ascend to the Father (Mt 28:1-10).
The painter cleverly indicates this by having the angel pointing down with one hand – indicating that the tomb is empty – and pointing upwards with the other hand – to a vision of the Risen Christ.
Christ hovers overhead surrounded by an Easter-egg of light, carrying a palm for His passion and a red-crossed standard for His Easter victory over death. He looks outwards at the viewer, at us, as if to say “I am watching you – I am watching over my disciples until the end of time”.
We understand a little of what those holy women felt: their confusion and fear mixed with faith and hope. Friends of mine recently experienced the death of a daughter and sister: it was a mind and heart numbing experience, senseless, too soon.
Beyond such personal struggles there have been some global ones of late: a country invaded by a bully neighbour; our Church brought to its knees in shame before the Royal Commission; a plane gone missing with all its passengers; endless conflict in Syria and the Middle East …
Whether it’s the personal crises or the global ones, we all crave for a God who cares, who will somehow carry us through, who will bring us peace.
So, if one of our hands points downwards at our deaths and anxieties, another points upwards towards our risings and hopes. Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen! Whatever our fears and sorrows, Christ has defeated death definitively and now watches over us with love. One day we will be raised up with Him.May God bless you and your loved ones in this holiest of seasons. May this truly be a Blessed Easter for you all.
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