Cardinal Gracias: Easter strengthens faith, favours inter-faith dialogue
Mumbai, April 12, 2012: The freely and informed baptism some people underwent on the eve of Easter shows that the Church is alive, that Jesus is alive and that Christianity is alive. Jesus’ message is always alive and always brings peace and joy. Every Christian has drawn strength from the historic event of the Resurrection, which is above all an invitation to deepen our faith and not to fear proclaiming and spread the message.
For Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, reliving the historic event of the Resurrection strengthens Christians’ faith. In a multicultural and multi-religious nation like India, it also favours dialogue with other faiths based on trust and love and without fear. In his meditation, he stresses how this Easter has taken on a special significance because it marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the diocese, a year devoted entirely to the “living liturgy”.
The Easter message is one of joy and confidence, deepening of faith, deepening of charity, deepening of hope. Our faith is deepened now that the Lord is risen. Our faith is the Gospel message. Our faith in everything that Jesus said. The resurrection is the confirmation of Jesus and speaks of hope.
It is not just an empty dream that we are hoping for but Jesus has come himself and told us the meaning of life, death and after life, and hope that all our efforts are a success and charity in the sense of Jesus. By redeeming us, he has shown that we are one family and we must spread joy, love, and his peace everywhere. That is a message for the Church, the diocese, the entire country, year of the faith and understanding of the faith.
We pray that Easter renews our zeal and our mission to make considerable efforts to spread our understanding and our knowledge and living of the faith with a confident hope that Jesus is our saviour and our friend.
This guarantee of the Resurrection, of Life that overcomes death, enables us to life our life of love and charity and enables us to understand and live the faith.
This year, we celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the creation of the Archdiocese of Bombay. At the start of the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, 8 September 2011, in the Archdiocese of Bombay, we began a full year dedicated to the Liturgy, a year of “Living Liturgy”, a liturgy that is vibrant and fully participative, a liturgy that leads to living its message in grace. Hence, for us Easter fills us with great hope that our Liturgies become truly living, truly vibrant, participative, meaningful, filled with grace and an occasion for encountering the Risen Lord. May our Liturgies also become truly life giving, having an impact on our individual lives, and our parishes, so that all of us in the Archdiocese truly witness Christ more and more in the way we live and act. Mother Mary lived the liturgy. May she assist us to live it fully ourselves.
Easter graces will also guide our Consultation 2012, which will be part of the 125th Anniversary of the Archdiocese of Bombay. It is appropriate that we use this occasion for a spiritual-pastoral renewal.
India is a multi cultural and multi religious country. Easter strengthens our faith and enables us to engage with people of other cultures and faiths to build sound bridges across cultural divides. A person cannot engage in dialogue unless he is deep in his own faith. He cannot really enter into dialogue of understanding. He cannot really appreciate another faith when he is not really secure in his own faith. Certainly, Easter strengthens our interreligious dialogue because we do it with confidence and love. We do it in appreciation and without any fear in our hearts, loved and appreciated.
With that in mind, I think that this would give a greater joy, in the sense that there is no need to be frightened anymore, no need of being afraid. We would love and appreciate that God has told us that there are lot of truth in other faiths. For this reason, we appreciate its value and try to carry the message of Jesus, which spreads love, peace and joy, confident that Jesus is in our hearts.
The Church is renewed with new baptisms on Easter vigil. The free and informed choice by individuals is evidence that the church is alive, that Jesus is alive, that Christianity is alive. That is the meaning of any new baptism.
The message of Jesus is always alive; it gives peace and joy. The historic event of the Resurrection has strengthened every Christian. In history, the resurrection is meant to strengthen us, give us a deeper understanding, and remove negative emotions like discouragement and diffidence. It is especially a call to deepen our faith so we have no fear to proclaim and spread the message.