Archbishop Bernard explained that Christ did not choose to reveal his resurrection to huge numbers of people but rather to a small number of men and women who would be his witnesses. Their eyes were opened and they came to believe for themselves. We all come to faith through the witness of others and once faith is awakened in us we become in turn witnesses of the risen Christ.
The Archbishop referred to the US based Pew Research Centre which suggested that the percentage of the British population identifying themselves as Christians would reduce by almost a third by 2050, just 45.4% of the population compared with two thirds in 2010. Despite the validity of research, the Archbishop counselled caution in reacting to such statistics as they point to what might be, not to what must be. We are all called to a renewal of faith and to commit ourselves to becoming Spirit-filled evangelizers.
He pointed to a number of initiatives around the archdiocese which highlight a reaching and serving others with the hope and light of the gospel. The Anawim in Balsall Heath, Brushstrokes in Smethwick, St Chad’s Sanctuary, New Heights in Kingstanding and the Hope Project in Wolverhampton. These initiatives are a powerful sign of the love of Christ, motivated as they are by recognizing the value of every human life.
Archbishop Bernard informed us of the annual March for Life which begins at the cathedral on Saturday May 16. After a time of prayer and reflection there will be a walk of witness through the streets of the city bearing witness to a society that regards life as disposable, to the intrinsic worth and value of every human being. He encouraged us to make a stand for life by joining the March for Life.
We are invited to remember and pray for the twenty-one Ethiopian Christians martyred in Libya and for the immense suffering experienced by so many of the ancient churches of the Middle East. And for witness of the Christian students who were deliberately separated from their non-Christian friends and killed in Garissa University in Kenya.
Archbishop Bernard concluded his homily by reminding us of the encouraging words of Pope Francis in his Easter Blessing to the City and to the World Urbi et Orbi:
The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail…But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help. This is not weakness, but true strength! Those who bear within them God’s power, his love and his justice, do not need to employ violence; they speak and act with the power of truth, beauty and love.
Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness!
To read the Archbishop’s homily in full please click here: EASTER MONDAY MASS 2015