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Easter Message 2016 from His Eminence

March 26, 2016

Easter Message 2016 from His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay

Each one of us has to understand that we are sinners and are in need of God’s mercy. We need to feel this in reality. Every saint has a past and every sinner a future; we need to connect to God and find our peace in His presence. Every Sacrament is an opportunity to have a personal encounter with Christ. We need to receive and experience God’s mercy. Eventhe Saints did so. Our recent Popes, St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI - Pope Francis too - visited and availed of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God’s mercy overflows to us in this Sacrament. We need to be people who bring God’s love into focus everyday. The recent terror attack in Brussels makes us realise the futility of the cycle of violence and that hate can only conquered with love. That is what the message of the Cross tells us.

In a society where there is so much of individualism, materialism, and selfishness, how I wish that each of our parishes and institutions becomes an oasis of mercy, reaching out to the marginalized, the poor, those in any need. Cardinal Kasper in his much discussed book on “Mercy the Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life” speaks of four types of poverty that we must reach out to as bearers of mercy:

(1) physical-economic poverty: those lacking food, shelter and with serious illness;
(2) cultural poverty: the illiterate, with lack of chances for education, exclusion from social or cultural life in society;
(3) poverty of relationships: with loneliness, sense of isolation, a loss of family member, marginalization, imprisonment;
(4) spiritual poverty:feelings of inner emptiness, hopelessness, isolation.

As we participate in the Holy Week, we are invited to open ourselves to this incredible love of God and make it felt and experienced by others in very tangible ways. The story of our faith that unfolds during each passion week, from the washing of the disciples’ feet to Christ’s death on the cross, is not just the story of salvation but carries within it a deeper message that is so relevant for our time: its speaks of a victory that does not imply winning over another’s losing out, but one that raises everyone; it speaks of service  over being served; it speaks of sharing the plenty that we already enjoy, rather than acquiring more; it speaks of mercy that reaches out in empathy and compassion, making vengeance redundant. The cross leads to the resurrection – God’s stamp of approval on the values that Jesus practiced and upheld to his last breath.  Values that are a total inversion of the values of a Godless society.

May the Season of Easter renew within us – as individuals and as community - our calling to emulate Christ’s values and to be ‘Merciful Like The Father’ to each other and to all who come in contact with us.

March 23, 2016                                                      + Oswald Cardinal Gracias

         Archbishop of Bombay

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