What does it mean to be Easter people? Christians are encouraged to be –are, in fact, called to be – Easter people. There are many profound theological explanations for what the term implies, all tied to the miracle of the empty tomb on Easter morning. But, at its most essential, to be an Easter person is to be a person of hope.
Often, the simplest things can bring us hope –– the sight of a crocus poking through the snow after a long and trying winter, for example. But we also place our hopes in far more serious matters, like trusting in the ability of our various levels of government and the will of society to care for all people, including our most vulnerable neighbours. We want – we need – to know that things can be better.
Canadians have been through long and trying times in recent years, with the stress of the pandemic, financial turmoil, random violence, and great rifts exposed in our political and cultural fabric. Many people appear stressed, short-tempered and overwhelmed, and often those feelings flow over into interactions with other people.
But as Easter people, we don’t stand on the sidelines as the world goes by. Instead, hope calls us to help and to engage. Easter people participate, raising our voices to express our hope that we can do better, whether it’s by engaging in the electoral process, or volunteering to help our neighbours, sharing our blessings, or remembering people in our prayers. That hope rests not in individuals and isolation but in community and engagement.
Hope is the great inspiration for Catholic Charities and our 21 member agencies. Every day we hear moving stories of change and positive growth, whether it’s that of a family learning sign language to communicate with a deaf child or a migrant family being offered a place to stay; a teen mother approaching her delivery date being given essentials to care for her baby, or a person fighting addiction finding the supports needed to begin the journey to sobriety.
Our faith rests in the great hope of the Resurrection, which holds out the promise of forgiveness of our sins. That good news is a powerful motivator to reach out to others to help.
It is that knowledge that moves our agencies to contribute to the common good for all people. We know that even in the darkest hours we can help our neighbours improve their situation, finding comfort, peace – and hope.
As we celebrate Easter, we are mindful that Muslims are marking Ramadan and Jews, Passover. We offer our sincere good wishes to all our neighbours and remain committed to our call to serve all people, in great hope, regardless of background or faith tradition– because we are Easter people.