We had a wonderful Easter Triduum celebration in our Church. The weather was pleasant, and the turnout for Masses and services was overwhelming this year. Lent season preparations and Easter Triduum celebrations have brought spiritual renewal to most of us. Our past weeks journey through Lent and Holy Week were not in vain, but instead, brought life to our faith as we raised our eyes to the Risen Lord as we sang, “This is the day the Lord has made, we rejoice and are glad,”(Psalms 118: 24).
I would like to share with you some insights into what is presently going on in our hearts and in the Catholic Church itself. I realise that every time as we approach Easter (Feast of all feast), there will be some kind of issues that will arise, either attacking our priests, our Catholic Church or our faith itself in Christ. When we hear all these we experience frustrations, sadness and anger.
These past few months, the Catholic Church has been under attack with scandals and sexual abuses. The priesthood and the Catholic Church have been under attack from within and without too. The Catholic Church is going through issues of responsibility, accountability and transparency. The never-ending news reports of abuse scandals involving the highest levels of hierarchy in the Catholic Church has been an agonising and upsetting year for the Church. As a result of this, many Catholics are losing their faith and are contemplating leaving the Catholic Church.
On Monday, 15 April, the first day of Holy Week, a terrible fire occurred at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The world was horrified. The Cathedral , named after Our Lady of Paris, is a beautiful Cathedral with beautiful Art Works. The fire that ravaged across this Cathedral broke the hearts of Catholics all over the world especially the hearts of the French people. After the fire, the Cathedral could not be used for Holy Week and Easter Triduum. Here we are so fortunate to have a church building at St Joseph’s in Sentul, where we could celebrate Holy Week and Easter Triduum.
On Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019, the multiple blasts that hit churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, without a doubt, caused a great deal of anxiety and agony to our people’s hearts. Today, it said that 253 people have been killed so far and almost 500 of them were injured badly. It is the worst violence in Sri Lanka since her civil war which ended a decade ago.
Although these are the saddest incidents that took place this Easter, which left gaping holes in our hearts, yet these cannot and will not consume our faith in Christ and the Catholic Church. We are very sure that the Risen Lord will continue to find ways to challenge us and the world through His presence in our hearts and in the Church itself.
Faith is not a building. The worship and prayers and the belief of the people of the church makes faith alive. This year we are celebrating 111 years of the establishment of the parish of St. Joseph. We have come to this church hundreds of times to pray and worship with faith. Our regular presence in the church, in worship and prayer, rebuilds and renews our faith in Christ and the Catholic Church. In order to deepen our faith we take every opportunity to come together in worship and in prayer.
St Paul says that knowing Christ is supreme advantage – I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Knowing Christ is far more important and valuable than anything else in this world, (Phil 3:1-11).Our faith in Christ is priceless. Our faith should be more valuable because the Lord has risen as He promised. If Christ has not risen there is no forgiveness, no new birth in the spirit, no heaven and no hope.
Our faith in the Risen Christ gives us a priceless value knowing Him, and also priceless values to our faith, and as such there is no need to be fearful or anxious. Today, He is alive!
By Rev Fr George Packiasamy