Dear Brothers and Ladies
The late Cardinal Basil Hume said, “The great gift of Easter is hope”. I was reminded of this on the Tuesday of Holy Week by my good friend Father Philip Baptiste who is a Chaplain to the Knights of St Columba in London. The words of His Eminence really sum up for me the Easter message.
As we journey through Lent the liturgy prepares us for the great Feast and during these last 2 weeks of Passiontide we experience the feeling of walking with the Lord in his last days and hours among us as a man.
In his final days of suffering, I find it easy to identify with the emotions of the disciples. Foreboding, shock, fear, despair and then finally deep sorrow as their friend master and teacher is executed in the most severe and cruel manner before their very eyes. After all the promise that had come before, it must have seemed in that bleak moment, everything they had expected had ended.
But we now know that this was not the case. In fact it was the new beginning.
I suppose we as Knights and Catholics can be forgiven if, at times, we also experience the emotions of doubt, despair or fear about the present and future.
When so many man made disasters and wars are occurring throughout the world, when man’s inhumanity to man is manifested in so many ways and in the dreadful fact that the most vulnerable in our society, our unborn brothers and sisters, are being dehumanised and killed in the womb every single day, it would be easy to despair and give up.
But the great Easter message of hope leads us on a different path. It shows us that even in the darkest of times, even in the midst of death itself, our Lord is always with us. It tells us that if we trust in him and in his resurrection, our prayers will be answered. And it reassures us that, as with the journey from the cross to the empty tomb, if we put those prayers in the hands of the Lord, nothing is impossible.
Therefore as we celebrate with great joy the resurrection of our Saviour and Lord, let us recommit ourselves and our Orders to fulfilling that Easter message.
In our deeds and actions let us share the love of the Risen Christ. Let us pray for an end to strife and war and for a return to peace in our world and let us reaffirm with vigour the undeniable truth that all human life is sacred from conception to a natural death.
Brothers and Sisters, I know our great orders will not be found wanting in this, and in the true and certain knowledge of the resurrection, I am sure that our actions will ensure that the great gift of hope Cardinal Hume spoke about will become a reality.
A world were God is truly at its heart and soul. A world were peace and justice will prevail and a world where every human person is valued cherished loved and protected from the very moment he or she is conceived.
With that gift of hope planted firmly in our hearts, Sandra and I wish you a Blessed, Happy and Holy Easter.
Charlie McCluskey KSG, International President