Easter Message 2017

Recently, a photo went viral on the internet that was quite intriguing.Taken by photographer Colin Harrison, the photo was of Abu Omar who is 70 years old and a resident of Aleppo, Syria. After six years of war, he came back to his home and while smoking his pipe, found his dusty phonograph that was still in working condition. Defiant of the despair around him, he sat down amongst the ashes and began listening to music. In the chaos of war that has been ongoing over many millennia, a camera captured a moment where there was tranquility, civility, and even joy.

Many of us live in a sort of chaos of our own, perhaps not as extreme as the war in Syria, but nevertheless, a reality that tears us apart and leaves us feeling lifeless, like everything is a dusty ruin. Perhaps this is how we feel in our family life or in our workplace. Perhaps with our friendships or our career. Perhaps in our relationship with God. Like Abu Omar in the photograph, we too look for signs of life and joy amongst the ashes.

Just a few days ago, in this very church and in churches across the world, we held the memorial of Jesus’ death on a cross. For Jesus, and his followers, it was an unimaginable tragedy. Everything for which they aspired was crushed. They faced a certain and definite catastrophe which apparently left no hope.

In our own way, we’ve all been there. It’s why the photograph taken by Colin Harrison is so intriguing. There is something incredibly remarkable about an old man who has seen the worst of humanity and can still muster up the belief that somehow, he can rebuild. His meek and humble encouragement comes from the brief moment in which he sees a modest phonograph still working. In our mind’s ear we can hear the phonograph transforming this tragic scene with strains of joyous music. From a Christian perspective, this photo captures an Easter moment.

My friends, three days after Jesus’ death Mary Magdalene went looking for Jesus, expecting to find only the dusty ruins of a hopeless tomb. Instead, she encountered a miracle and the unexpected blessing of hope. Jesus has risen from the dead.

But Easter is more than just a moment. Easter is an eternal moment that is relived in all moments of hope. It resounds with joy against all despair. It is present not only today, but everyday. It invites us to believe in hope, even when things don’t go right in our families, our jobs, or in areas of war and destruction like Syria.

My prayer for you this Easter is that you will be blessed with the vision of hope that Easter brings. That you will see the possibility of Jesus’ Resurrection transforming your life, not only in this moment, but in all the moments of your life to come. Please let me, our parish staff, or any Saint Andrew parishioner know how we can accompany you in finding and celebrating that hope. As children of the Resurrection, we are grateful to fulfill our mission, the gentle task of lifting one another in the constant joy of Easter.

Happy Easter,

Fr. Sergio Romo

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