EASTER MESSAGES FROM AUSTRALIAN HEADS OF CHURCHES

Catholic Church in Australia

CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!

Dear Friends,

This joyous Easter message is the same every year, but it always echoes just a little bit differently given the world in which we live. Across the globe in 2017, there is political upheaval and wars and rumours of war. We pray that our political and civic leaders be blessed with wise and compassionate hearts. May they avoid all rhetoric and decisions that divide people. Christ in his costly death and resurrection has made us all one! That is why we privileged citizens of a richly blessed country like Australia are all called to generously reach out to be guardians of life to those in need.

Our mission is to protect those who are vulnerable and give special tender care to refugees, the poor, the unborn, the aged and our children. We ask forgiveness when we fail in this sacred duty. Especially in recent weeks, we Catholics in Australia have all been deservedly shamed and saddened at the extent of the crimes, damage, pain and harm done by too many ministers of our Church. Our need for repentance and a renewed commitment to be vigilant and proactive in protecting our children has never been more urgent.  Yes, the Cross of Christ is very real. Even within our own families, we often have challenging times of disagreement, despair and perhaps even depression.

But the Easter season reminds us that our struggles are not the final word. The final word is new life in the Risen Christ. When we join the crosses that we bear every day – those small deaths in our everyday lives – with the cross of Jesus, we have the Risen Christ’s promise of new life. The Risen Christ no longer lives in a tomb but he lives in our hearts and in our world and in the church of sinners, which is his body today. It’s critical during this Easter season that we recognize that the Lord Jesus suffered and died for us. He has come to bring us mercy. The mercy that the Risen Christ gives to us – and which we embrace – helps us to accept God’s forgiveness, to forgive ourselves and to forgive others. If we truly do that, then we can celebrate the new life of the Risen Christ during the Easter season.

Archbishop Denis J Hart, President

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

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Catholic Church in Australia

EASTER’S LIGHT AND DARKNESS

It is said that that the medieval artists perfected the style called “chiaroscuro”.  It contrasts light and darkness to produce an almost three-dimensional dramatic form. Masters such as Da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt perfected this art form. It can often elevate a rather simply work of art into a masterpiece.

Easter is a kind of “chiaroscuro” too. There is the darkness of Good Friday. The darkness of sin and alienation are nailed onto the Calvary Cross. But the lamb led to the slaughter is not the end of the story. There is the light of Easter. The slain lamb becomes the Risen “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”!  The light/darkness (chiaroscuro) of Easter becomes the central tenet of our faith. Our redeeming God has made it into the Christian masterpiece!  Let us be chiaroscuro people too! When in darkness may we await in Christ for the light of Easter to dawn upon us. When in the light of Christ we know that not even future darkness can “ever separate us from the love of Christ.”   Alleluia!

Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn

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Churches of Christ in Australia

In any one year, over 2 million Australians will have an anxiety disorder. Among young people in Australia, one in six is currently experiencing an anxiety disorder. Even these horrifying statistics do not factor in the distressing, but non-clinical levels of anxiety experienced by many.

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