MAY OUR PARISHES RISE FROM DEATH
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Resurrection is a great sign of a living God. We remember from the Exodus Book that God Yahweh answered Moses’ question that he is who is (see 3,14). The essence of God involves the fact that he simply is, that he lives. God’s life has been revealed expressively in the fact of Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus has risen from death and is with us, he lives. He is always alive. This great call and joy of Resurrection spreads onto the whole Christianity today, because the power of God is revealed as well as His reign over death, sin and moral fall. Risen Christ is the biggest inspiration for us, because he has risen from death, is alive and is with us. Resurrection of Christ leads us to many reflections. It is also Paul’s one: ‘If Christ had not risen from death, our faith would be vain and our prophecy would be vain’, (see 1Letter to the Corinthians 15,14). Our faith in Him as the Revealed God’s Son is based on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, promised Messiah who fulfilled his mission towards humanity. Let’s remember the words of Jesus noted down by St. John and preached to Nicodemus: God beloved the world so much that he gave his Son, so that everybody who believes in Him, would not die but have eternal life’. (see 13,16). He gave his son, Jesus Christ, so that we would have eternal life...not only life in this world, which naturally has its ending – Christ is leading us to eternal life. He convinces us that at home of his Father there are many flats (see J14, 2n). These picturesque statements have a great meaning. They form our faith and open our hearts not only to the contemporary times, but also the whole eternity. Resurrection of Christ is based on passing the information by witnesses who tell us about an empty tomb and then they assure us about many meetings with Risen Jesus who ate and drank with them and was like an ordinary alive man. At the same time Jesus was adored after the Resurrection, he was in different places and situations in an unusual and miraculous way, raising admiration, joy and causing great emotions of the Apostles and those who knew him. They followed Risen Jesus in such a way that they did not care about anything else but the fact of being with Him and His last words were something for them which built their faith, love and was power in order to survive in a later difficult time.
Therefore, the Resurrection of Jesus has a great significance for all his believers, a significance which is basic for every believer. Also we, basing on the testimony of the Apostles, are the inheritors of the faith in the Risen Jesus and in everything which he taught. This faith leads us to the Holy Church which was established by Christ and it assures us that there is not Christ without the Church and there is no Church without Christ. The Church is the work of Risen Christ and is full of Resurrection. Certainly, the fullness of the Church is expressed also by the presence of the Sanctifying Spirit. The Church, gifted with the graces of the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and Son, is constantly strengthened and supported by Him. No matter how personally we experience the event of the Resurrection of Lord, each of us builds relationship with God and treats his inner experiences personally in some sense. – There are also common relations within a religious group though. After all, we experience the Resurrection of Lord in our parishes. Today I address the special Easter wishes to these religious communities: may our parish rise from death! What does it mean? Well, we rise from death to live, not to die. A parish which enlivens its love towards God, also enlivens its activity: its structures, inter-human relations, care about children, care about the ill and suffering people, a prayer for those who are on the margin of the parish life, etc. The Resurrection of a parish will always be marked by a social factor. People in a parish should wholly inspire and support each other, aiming toward God, in the need of being near Christ. A parish should be home for all its members. And such a home should be built. In order to build home in our parish, some ‘furniture’ is needed which the parish should organise. This furniture is, among the others, Catholic media: radio, press – they will have an influence on the awareness of the Catholics. A Catholic newspaper raises love to God, gives Evangelical reference, reminds about valuable gift of the Blessed Mother. It – like a vicar helping a parish priest – has a task of helping believers in building their Christian awareness. For, the most important thing in life is whether we are near God or far away from Him, whether we are aware that we are God’s Children, or whether we do not care about it at all. Sooner or later we all will have to stand in front of Christ in the whole truth and nothing will be hidden. Therefore this wish: May our parishes rise from death! – has its deep sense just at Easter time. For, our parishes are often somehow rusty and covered with mellowness. God became a great unknown for many parishioners. After all, he is Father – who loves, is merciful, to whom we can always resort and to whom we can return. Such God will be brought to us by ‘the domestic vicar’ – the Catholic weekly which reminds the teaching of the Church in reference to different life and social situations, which will concentrate with a family on important educational matters, which will help in getting knowledge in politics, will suggest, give advice and assure cultural relax. We all must undertake this great work: priests and Catholic associations and all believers. Together with Risen Christ we can unite together and start living in faith. Let’s think about it, dear readers! Let’s think Brother Priests! And May Risen Christ start living in us and may our parishes rise from death!