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Homily of Bishop William Crean – Easter Sunday – 31st March 2024

Easter Sunday

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

31st March 2024

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

My friends,

A google search of world religions revealed that Christianity has the religious affiliation of 31% of the world’s population – that comes to 2.6 billion people. By any standard it is impressive. Islam is the 2nd largest group at 25% roughly 2 billion adherents.

The great tragedy of the religious experience is that over time we/they, for various reasons people began to disagree and it led to division and even enmity and hatred.

In the Christian story it happened right from its earliest days – mostly ‘round our understanding of Jesus, as a man, yet Son of God. Over time many divisions emerged that got intertwined with politics and nationalism. We have a good example here in Ireland.

Yet through all the centuries the person of Jesus and his teaching have continued to grow in the lives of people from all nations and cultures. This is down to so many who heard the call to follow him – down to so many who were willing to share the light and hope that their faith gave to their lives and in a sense felt compelled to share it.

In the Western world many have abandoned shared religious practice – it also happened in those nations where it was suppressed by an atheistic communist regime. We also have had revealed in the Church institutions cruel and criminal abuse of so many. This has understandably revolted not just the victims but their families also.

The reality is that the human sinfulness and failure of many Christians has scandalised us. Our failure is tantamount to a deep hypocrisy. Yet the person of Christ Jesus and the Gospel has not evaporated and gone away and it won’t because at the heart of the Gospel is the Lord’s mercy and redemption. Ours is a Church of sinners – our grace and blessing is that our sinfulness is never the last word about our lives.

In Christ Jesus, risen from the tomb is our salvation. That’s why to-day Easter day fills the hearts of believers with a deep sense of joy and hope. We know in our hearts that darkness, grief, evil and even death have in Christ Risen been overcome.

That’s why despite even the greatest loss and tragedy we can continue to live in hope. To-day as the turmoil of war and conflict rages in the Ukraine, the Middle East and unknown to us in other corners of the world we pray fervently for peace, for peace makers, for people of Christ like minds and hearts who cherish all even enemies as sisters and brothers – who deserve a life of dignity.

So may the Light of this Easter Day continue to guide you. In Christ Risen, there is always a light born for you.

“Do not let the night and mist of ignorance

steal upon you. So that you may always

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