This is the day the Lord has made - Easter Sunday 2020

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > This is the day the Lord has made - Easter Sunday 2020

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this virus is an insidious thing. Not knowing who may be carrying the virus, it can come upon anyone unexpectedly. It is no respecter of persons, even a Prime Minister can be infected. It is very contagious and has spread quickly and universally. It affects people in different ways. For some it is just a minor irritation, for others it is lethal. While it is evident that while some people are more prone to suffer seriously, like the elderly or those with low immunity, it can also strike down the young and the healthy.

Despite all the extraordinary advances in technology and medicine, we humans have been largely powerless against its spread. Without a vaccine, all nations can do is impose stringent requirements for social isolation. Borders are shut. Travel is denied. People are forced to live for weeks and maybe months locked in their homes and apartments.

There is the tragedy of a hundred thousand deaths. Many people die alone and many are buried in makeshift graves, with no mourners, no proper funeral rites. Families are suffering the loss of loved ones without outlets for their grief. Hospital systems are overwhelmed. Frontline medical workers are risking their lives to care for the victims.

We have to cut ourselves off from others in order to protect ourselves from being infected. Human society is being shut down. Even the greatest nations, like the US, are brought to their knees.

Businesses have had to close. Millions have lost their livelihoods. Economies grind to a halt. The long-term effects of this cannot yet be fathomed. 

The world waits anxiously for a vaccine to be developed. Until that time whole nations are under threat of serious outbreaks of the virus. Humanity is living through a dark and difficult time. The virus has dominated our lives and will do so for a long time ahead. The entire world, which is so interconnected, is susceptible; no nation or people is exempt.

This virus has reminded us that human existence is very fragile. Despite our vast technological achievements, the high standards of living enjoyed by many, the material comforts we embrace and the opportunities for leisure pursuits, we are being reminded that humanity is not secure in itself. We are not invincible. This pandemic causes us to re-examine our perspectives. It invites us to consider the true meaning of human existence.

It is with the backdrop of this global crisis that today Christians across the world celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On this joyful day, the Church proclaims that Christ has redeemed the human race. Sin, evil and death do not have the last say on the destiny of the human race.

The redemption we proclaim is the sovereign action of God, an act of compassionate love and an expression of infinite mercy. Humanity has not been abandoned. Its pain and struggle has not been ignored.

It is, however, only through the eyes of faith that we can see what God has done. The believer understands that human condition has been redeemed. Humanity is no longer in the grip of fear and darkness, but now can bask in joy and hope through the radiant light of the risen Christ. 

The powerlessness of the world before the spread of COVID-19 is a reminder of the essential powerlessness of human beings. We cannot save ourselves. The Easter proclamation is the joyful declaration that God has acted in a decisive way to save humanity and offer each person the opportunity of eternal life.

In a few moments we will be invited to renew our Baptismal Promises. The fruits of the resurrection are mediated through the sacrament of Baptism. In this sacrament, God bestows his Holy Spirit upon us. We are given the dignity of being called sons and daughters of God. Our lives come under the grace of salvation.

In the midst of a global threat, we declare a global redemption. To participate in this sovereign act of God we make an affirmation of faith: We renounce evil and choose the way of Jesus Christ. Today, let us claim all that Christ has done for us and express our personal intention to live in full union with Him. 

Whatever may await us in the time ahead, let us claim life and salvation given through Jesus Christ as we rejoice in his Resurrection. Lifting our hearts in joyful hope we declare with the Church across the world: “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad.”

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Sunday, April 12, 2020