10 April 2020, The Tablet

Cardinal advises on getting through this 'time of testing'

Cardinal advises on getting through this 'time of testing'

A pilgrim dressed as Jesus Christ stands in front of the closed door of the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem during the Good Friday procession on 10 April.
Ilia Yefimovich/DPA/PA Images

The Archbishop of Westminster has described the Covid-19 pandemic as a "great time of testing" and of "darkness and anxiety".

In his homily to be broadcast across all 39 local BBC radio stations on Easter Day, he says this can be a time to reset our sights and focus on our true needs and finest gifts.

"This time of great testing enables us to distinguish what is truly important from all that is fleetingly desired and has so often mistakenly been given pride of place in our ambitions," he says.

The resurrection at Easter "shouts aloud that death is not the last word". "So often, it seems that death does have the final say, breaking our hearts, especially when the departing one is far from our arms. Then, as for many today, death is ruthless, uncompromising, hard as rock. Today we proclaim another reality: death is not the end. The rock of suffering and death is broken open by the cross of Jesus."

He continues: "This truth, of Christ's rise from the dead, gives us courage to face the cold embrace of death, with great trust in the promise of Jesus, that he will bring us with him, into a life more powerful than death, and more glorious too. He is risen. We shall rise. We praise and thank our living God."

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland also referred to the suffering inflicted by the Covid-19 Virus.

In their Easter message they said: "The pandemic is afflicting the whole world and we pray for all those who have caught the virus, their loved ones and those caring for them.

"Our lives are greatly restricted and on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian calendar, we will not be able to go to church. It is hard to find hope in the present situation, but as Christians, we know that the risen Lord is our hope. His suffering death and resurrection give us hope that we will recover, that life will get better and that our nation will feel the peace and love of the risen Christ.

"We also have hope in the ingenuity and the generosity of humanity. Though many uncertainties lie ahead, our hope and our determination to recover the lives we once lived is strong. We are grateful to all those who work in healthcare and supply the essential services we rely on.

"We especially give thanks for the commitment and compassion of our medical professionals and we pray that all their decisions will respect the lives of the most vulnerable, entrusted to their care. We pray too for the researchers around the world working to develop a vaccine and for our political leaders who must make difficult decisions." 




For details of the Cardinal's Easter Day services and more liturgical and spiritual resources for Catholics at this time, see our dedicated coronavirus help page, Isolated but not Alone.

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