Fr Brian McCoy SJ, Provincial of the Society of Jesus Australia, delivers a special address for Easter. Transcript below.
The Easter we celebrate this year will be an Easter like no other any of us likely have ever experienced, and none of us may experience for a long time to come.
There is a memory in my own family that at the time of the flu epidemic of 1919, my father and his sister were sent to stay with relations in Tatura. One of the benefits, my father would relate later, was that he learned to ride a horse.
As we look at the coronavirus pandemic that is facing this nation, and each of us, and our world, we will over these coming days of Easter consider what is really important for us as we follow the journey of Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection. And as we follow with him, we will, like many around the world at this time, pause to consider what is really important for us, and what is less important.
One of the things I propose we will consider as really important is a new sense of global and shared humanity, and the vulnerability of humanity. A growing awareness of the privileges we have in this country with health services, and the great courage, generosity of health professionals. We will also become aware of how fear and anxiety and selfishness can lead us to not just arguments in supermarket aisles, but also in the way we hoard, and worry, and the way we live with one another.
There is also in this period as we lead to Easter, a process of starting to recognise what really is at the heart of letting go what’s not important, and embracing what really is important. Often around family meals, conversations support for our friends and family, having some regular activity that’s meaningful, to exercise and care for our own lives and health, and having some awareness and response to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
And as we follow Jesus in these days of Easter – accompanying him with his friends, men and women, teaching them and showing them how he feels – we can live as true human beings. Following him to the Last Supper where he washed their feet to the cross and his suffering. And then in that period of waiting for resurrection and hope.
There are times when we can resonate with a lot of those moments along the way. And we like those friends and disciples will be waiting in hope for what can emerge and is promised to emerge in these difficult times for all of us.
My prayer for our Province, my family and my friends, is that we can find in this time of Easter, a chance to let go of what is not really important. A chance to embrace what is of life, of grace, of hope, of joy. To embrace that and accept it, live it, and to share that with everyone around us.
And that a growing sense of the world community in which we live will help us grow in appreciation for the gifts we share and the privilege in this nation.
My prayer for all of you, my friends, my brother Jesuits and members of our Province, those who partner with us, those who volunteer with us, those we serve in our schools and other ministries: May this time of Easter be a time of grace for each of you in this difficult uncertain time; a grace of hope, a grace that will come out of the struggles and sufferings and uncertainties we share.
And as we walk with Jesus, and believe in Jesus, and become friends and companions with him as Savior and friend, may we will grow in a greater faith in him, and also to love and care for one another.
Easter blessings to you all.
Fr Brian F McCoy, Provincial