April 2023: Editorial

Hope that does not disappoint     

    A few years ago during one of those once in a lifetime experiences I was given the precious opportunity to celebrate Mass at dawn over the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (or the Church of the Resurrection if you are an Orthodox Christian). As the Mass proceeded in that tiny, candle lit space which has been the object of worship and the victim of war and violence for two thousand years and has also been the pilgrimage goal of millions including some of the most luminous saints and repentant sinners that the world has known, I could perhaps be forgiven for becoming a little overwhelmed like others before me. This was after all the final resting place of the Crucified one who had taken all of the world’s sinfulness and suffering upon his shoulders, the one whose example of sacrificial love and pastoral tenderness had inspired me since childhood days.

     Leaving the tomb was like leaving the graveside of any loved one; there was little joy only a deep sense of loss. They had taken away my Lord and I didn’t know where they had put him. Then as I slowly focused on the waiting crowds from every nation on earth already gathered to visit and pray, some clearly excited and hope filled, others lost in prayerful thought or memory I gradually understood how Jesus’ death had been transformed into new life. That God-gifted life had emerged from this sad, dark tomb and burst upon the world with an energy and joy that first ignited his apostles and has animated souls ever since. Even in our ever more confused, turbulent world with a threatened apocalypse almost every week the message of Easter continues to inspire us. As Pope Francis has said; ‘In this complex reality, the Easter message gives us the hope that does not disappoint. “Jesus who was crucified, has risen. Alleluia”.


Paul Clayton-Lea