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Month of April

'I shall love You, I shall love You always; when day breaks, when evening turns into night,
at every hour, at every moment; I shall love You always, always, always.
St Gemma Galgani

Month of April

Month of April

April this year is taken up by our celebration of the Resurrection and the Easter season. Clearly Jesus rising from the dead was a shock to the Apostles. They didn’t expect it, even though Christ had told them that it would happen after his death, but then his death had also been a shock to them. They hadn’t understood and even though they believed now that Christ had risen from the dead, they still didn’t really understand what that meant. This period of Easter takes another look at what it meant, not for the sake of the Apostles, to help them understand, but for our sake, so that we understand. St Thomas, doubting Thomas, is a great help to us as his unbelief turns to a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and God. But this isn’t quite the first thing that the resurrection brings; that honour belongs to the forgiveness of sins. Christ’s sacrifice was acceptable to the Father as shown in his resurrection and now the age-old weight of sin that clung to us is removed and the Church is given the task of proclaiming the mercy of God and bringing this new freedom to all peoples. Yet the weight of sin is not thrown off so easily; we are still encumbered by doubt and disbelief, so we are encouraged to reconsider the message of hope offered by the prophets. There we see that our hope and faith is not some recently invented myth but has been part of God’s plan from the beginning. Christ has always been at the centre of what God intended for us and from the time the snake offered the fruit of knowledge to Eve in the Garden of Eden, there have been and will again be others who come offering us life, it is only Christ who has the power to give us the life we seek. Without Christ, we wither and die, life comes to an end in death, but with him, and him alone, we have eternal life, for we are born and die, we come into existence and we pass out of existence unless he holds us in life and in death. So we must hold onto him, we must remain in his loving embrace and even though we may twist and turn like an infant in its mother’s arms in an attempt to escape, he holds on to us for he knows that if he lets us go we will fall. We must learn to stay within the embrace of his love, to rejoice in him so that we may come to the full freedom of God’s children and the fulness of our humanity which has been renewed in him. With Pentecost we return to the Gospel of Easter Sunday. It is the Church’s way of showing us the mystery of the resurrection. It is not just that Christ has risen from the dead, it is also that in him we have risen from the dead now to live life in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. I can’t help but think of our journey over this past year with Covid-19. That too, like sin, is not so easily thrown off and we seem encumbered by doubt and anxiety in the face of the resurgence of the virus. Still our faith has always been there for us and reminded us that our future is not darkness but life, so even with all our difficulties, it is life we are moving towards and that must surely renew our hope and joy. .