Last week I began my message with Hosanna, and this week, the word is Alleluia, a word I have sung many, many times during the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses.

We have moved from praying for God to save us, to praising God. Our week of ceremonies at the Cathedral, beginning with the Chrism Mass, and then moving to Fr Reg Callinan’s funeral, followed by Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then the Easter Masses, have been wonderful, with good appreciative and prayerful gatherings. I believe many people have now returned to some form of regular worship after two years of COVID restrictions. At the end of our Mass on Sunday night people spontaneously clapped with joy.

Archbishop Charles Balvo, the newly appointed Nuncio to Australia, presided at the Triduum in the Cathedral. He seemed to enjoy the role of ‘supply bishop’ and remembered Bishop Bill at the beginning of our three days of prayer.

During last week and over the weekend, I have been drafting a template for the ten-page report to go to the Australian Bishops, on the Bishop’s Synod on Synodality. And so, when the Gospel from Luke (24:1-12) was proclaimed at the Easter Vigil, I thought about our own Synod, the Plenary Council and the Synod on Synodality. In this Gospel, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of Jesus and other women go to the tomb and find it empty, with two ‘angels’ stating that Jesus is risen. They then remember Jesus’ words spoken to them in Galilee – ‘that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified and rise again on the third day.’

When they returned and told the apostles, they were not believed. The conversation about the role of women in the church continues in all of the dialogue about the church moving forward. It seems to me that there were many women disciples who accompanied Jesus and who had a significant role in the early church. Jesus’ mission was countercultural and that is what I think we continue to be called to be.

The women’s remembering moved them to action. This Easter message is not a passive remembering but one that calls us to action, to use our initiative for the well-being of others, to drive others to pursue social justice. Remembering this way, is also re-member-ing; that is, bringing the disregarded outsider into membership with the rest of humanity.

Rev Dr Brian Kolia's has written the following words in the last reflection in the 2022 Common Grace Lent Series, 'Seeing Differently':

This Easter, this remembering/re-member-ing couldn’t have come at a more apt time, as we reflect on the events around us, here and all over the world.

Remembering victims of floods, should move us to the call for urgent climate action (Re-member-ing the Environment). Remembering injustice against Indigenous peoples, should encourage us towards a meaningful process of healing and treaty (Re-member-ing Indigenous Peoples). Remembering the war in Ukraine, should drive us to also fight for justice for West Papua, Palestine, and other refugees whose search for peace and self-determination begun many decades ago and still unfulfilled today (Re-member-ing Native Peoples and Refugees). Remembering that we are in a global pandemic, should prompt us to love our neighbour, to protect them, and to act selflessly (Re-member-ing the Vulnerable).

Today, on Easter Sunday, we’re invited to see differently as we reflect on how Jesus remembered/re-member-ed us, when he gave his life on the cross for the suffering world, out of a love that was searching and unconditional (John 3:16).

Brian Kolia’s words strongly resonated with me on Good Friday during the last prayer of solemn intercessions, “For those in tribulation”.

Let us pray, dearly beloved,
to God the Father almighty,
that he may cleanse the world of all errors,
banish disease, drive out hunger,
unlock prisons, loosen fetters,
granting to travellers safety, to pilgrims return,
health to the sick, and salvation to the dying.

Almighty ever-living God,
comfort mourners, strength of all who toil,
may the prayers of those who cry out in any tribulation
come before you,
that all may rejoice,
because in their hour of need your mercy was at hand.
Through Christ our Lord.

And then during the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil:

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord,
and brings down the mighty.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, this is our mission, to remember God’s mission in the person of Jesus and to live this active mission daily. I invite you to once again re-visit our Church without Walls series which has its origins in our Diocesan Synod. So far five short Youtube clips have been produced:

Please set aside 15 minutes to view the five clips at Diocesan Youtube Clips

They are worth viewing, so as to give you a sense of the work of so many in our local diocesan church.

I also remind you to download our new diocesan Mass app available on both the App Store or on Google Play: mn.catholic.org.au/mass-times-app which will give you the following:

  1. Up-to-date local church Mass times
  2. Latest Parish news
  3. Parish events
  4. Daily prayers and homilies
  5. Online Mass collections

Please invite others to download this app and to subscribe to our Dio Update via our website, (Dio Update registration)

A few people have contacted me lately expressing their wish to be more informed about events held across our diocesan community. I believe it is up to each of us to spread the good news of all that is happening across our parishes, and in the diocese and community more broadly.

Some of you may be interested in saving to your favourites www.mnnews.today which is like a regular update of news from right across our diocese and the wider church – Pastoral Ministries, Schools, CatholicCare, St Nicholas Early Education, Aurora, etc.

And so begins a new week in the liturgical life of our church.

Follow mnnews.today on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Teresa Brierley Image
Teresa Brierley

Teresa Brierley is Director Pastoral Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.