In our ministry as priests we have found that some of the most gentle and tender moments in people’s lives happen around the death of a loved one. Having celebrated countless funeral Masses, memorial services and graveside services, repeatedly we have seen the tender care with which people treat each other at times of death. The harsh and cold reality of death puts us in touch with our fragility as human beings. Seeing someone else’s fragility calls forth a special gentleness that seems to be reserved just for this emotional time. Someone once wrote in describing his best friend, “My friend was a person who died a little whenever someone or something precious died. My friend was gentle with life and with death.”
During Lent and Holy Week, we remember the death of someone precious, God’s beloved Son, Jesus. God’s beloved Son who taught us that it matters when goodness dies, like dignity, integrity, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, generosity, hope, justice and peace. Jesus taught us that when these things die, we all die a little.
Easter proclaims that God’s beloved Son broke through the power of death. God’s tender love raised Jesus from the dead. Through the resurrection, what is precious that has died can live again. We, as God’s beloved who also die a little when goodness dies, can live again as goodness is restored.
Easter beckons us to ask, what is the goodness that may have died in us since last Easter? This is not an easy question. In asking it, as with death, we need to be gentle with ourselves. Easter invites us to remember that as goodness is restored, humanity, God’s beloved, is also restored.
Like the man’s friend, we die a little when someone or something precious dies. As we celebrate goodness being restored this Easter through the death and resurrection of God’s beloved Son, may we be gentle with life and with death.
A blessed Easter to all!
Fr. Tuyen Nguyen, Vice-rector Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector