Because this year Easter takes place in full consecution of the Holy Year of Mercy, I would like to remember you, at the beginning of this pastoral letter, the words of John Paul II, in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia ([God] the one full of mercy), which the Pope addressed to the Holy Catholic Church and to all the people of good will, on 30th November 1980.
The Paschal Mystery is Christ atop the revelation of the incomprehensible mystery of God […]. In his resurrection, Christ has revealed God to the merciful love, precisely because he accepted the cross as a way to resurrection. […] The paschal Christ is the definitive incarnation of mercy, its living sign: historical and also eschatological sign of redemption.”[…]
During the Mass of Easter Day, we heard the word of Apostle Paul who tells us, those of today, as we told Corinthians of his times: “Clean up the old leaven to be a new lump, as you are, without dough because our Passover, Christ, was sacrificed. So let’s celebrate neither with the old leaven, nor with the leaved on malice and wickedness but with the wafers of sincerity and truth. (1Cor 5.7 to 8) […]
No doubt that Apostle Paul meant by the old leaven that leavened the structures of sin, passion and egoistic tendencies that we carry within us, all those disposition to evil named major sins by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. […] “They are: pride, avarice, envy, wrath, impurity, greed and sloth” (CBC, no. 1866); seven in number but with countless painful consequences.
Let’s consider just o few of them, not only because they often go together but for the critical consequences they may have in the lives of people.
For example, pride meaning the contemptuous and arrogant attitude, full of arrogance, attitude which rides roughshod over everything; kindness, friendship, honesty, solidarity are sacrificed in favour of ambitions with their desires of honour, of glory and of upstrartness, power, etc.
Than avarice, that disordered annexation of money and material things, from which are being born so many other sins: theft and deceit, oppression and neighbour’s exploitation, usury, the desire to have more and more, shameless luxury and shallow-hearted with humble and destitute ones, to ones that have nothing.
Uncleanness, challenges and continuous seeking of carnal pleasures as well. It is enough to watch the everyday news to observe that evil brought by this sin: homicide, suicide, revenge, torn apart families, abandoned children, diseases, etc.
The Apostle exhorts us, therefore, to leave all these inclinations and sins, meaning the old leaven, the one of malice and wickedness, to celebrate the Easter with the wafers of sincerity and truth, becoming new people, clothed and imbued with the teaching of Jesus. St. Paul calls us to take position against this culture and mentality of the world, which would like to make us believe that it is not possible to change the human heart, the deep roots of human being. The Apostle tells us the contrary: Jesus can change man through the gift of his grace.
[…] He came especially for us with this purpose. But, clearly, we should desire and want change. This is Jesus’ main request. If we have this willingness, Jesus gives us the transforming power of his grace, the only one able to really change the human heart. We can achieve this through prayer. “Ask and you shall receive”, Jesus told us; “Whatever you ask from the Father, in my name, he will give you”.
[…]So, in this way we should celebrate Easter now: throwing far from us the old leaven of our life, the one of sins about which the Apostle speaks. […]
Let’s ask the rich in mercy God to help us to become a new leaven, as the Apostle says, to be able to feel and celebrate our communion with the Risen Christ.
In this spirit, I wish you all a beautiful and fruitful Easter celebration!
Christ is risen!