Easter Message 2020

Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ. April 12th 2020

Easter offers new light for the path to God that is being indicated to us by the COVID-19 pandemic that has been affecting all humanity for the past months. Easter is God's passover, a passover from death to life, a passover that transforms those who open themselves to the experience of the Crucified and Risen One.

Easter is a moment to thank God for so many blessings received. I send a heartfelt word of thanks to all my Jesuit brothers, to my partners in the mission, and to the superiors and directors of works. You have encouraged so many initiatives with generosity and creativity in order to make the distance imposed by COVID-19 a source of closeness and the pain that it has caused a source of hope. We are grateful for the wider Church community which has known how to go out to meet and to serve as a “field hospital” for many. We are grateful for those who, without distinction of creed, race, culture or age, have turned this crisis into a step towards transformation.

In this Easter season, we celebrate the memory of the passover of the Lord. We receive the Consoler with joy, we embrace Hope and we thank our Father and our God. We celebrate the memory of the liberating passover of God who opened the waters of the Red Sea so that the people could meet Him in the desert, leaving slavery behind and beginning the long journey to freedom.

In this Easter season, the crisis of COVID-19 is opening our eyes to see up close the structures that today oppress humanity and that create huge gaps of social injustice. The crisis draws our gaze to what oppresses us. It opens our eyes to the need, and indeed the possibility, of starting to work for the transformation of these structures.

In this Easter season, we receive with joy the Crucified Jesus, resurrected into the Life of God. This Life of God can only be reached by a love so great that it voluntarily gives its own life, overcoming the fear of death. And so, we recall all those people who, putting aside the fear of death, are risking their own lives to save the lives of each one of us and of society itself. I think of doctors, nurses, hospital employees, priests and religious, volunteers, civil defense, law enforcement and so many others who, without being seen, and in so many places, are helping out in order to give new life.

The contemplation of the Crucified one has led us to a profound compassion for those thrown aside by the present world order. I speak of those condemned to the death imposed by poverty... or to the death of being on the margins... or to the loss of their fundamental rights... those forced to flee their homeland and to live far away from those they love. In this sense of compassion we discover God-with-us. He is inviting us to cherish the love which has been poured into our hearts. We cherish it by opening ourselves to wash each other's feet and by caring without fear for the lives of others. 

The confinement imposed by COVID-19, like the tomb of Jesus, cannot hold back our desire to live and to give life. The Crucified Jesus passed through the tomb. In this way his death became a Passover towards the Life of God and, also, the door for us to true life. The tomb of Jesus is empty because death cannot contain the strength of liberating love. The empty tomb tells us that humanity can be saved. The confinement brought about by COVID-19 presents us with an opportunity to transform our lives and to be reborn again into the love that goes out to meet others with whom we can work to build a better world.

Many - too many - have died because of COVID-19. That awareness has opened our eyes to see so many others who have died in other ways, because of injustice, violence, or war. But we will not have lost those who have died because of COVID in vain if we listen to the message they are shouting at us. They are urging us to take the necessary steps to transform our lives, to renew the society that we have built on such shaky foundations, and to rescue the environment that we have treated so badly.

The Crucified and Risen One emerges from the tomb to exercise his mission of consolation. Jesus Christ consoles us with his friendship through which he transmits the Life of God to us. He helps us to lose our fear of walking through the desert to meet Him. He helps us to understand the Scriptures that explain in so many ways how God is present in human life and in nature. He guides us through his Spirit... if we let ourselves be guided.

Jesus Christ is so close to us that we can embrace him. His nearness is not a threat to our health. On the contrary, by embracing Jesus Christ we reach our salvation. By embracing the Crucified and Risen One we embrace Hope. This embrace enables us to commit ourselves to building new relationships with others as well as with the environment because we find in Him the courage and strength to do so. In Him we embrace all humanity because we feel ourselves to be brothers and sisters of every person, people and culture. That variety enriches us; that creativity allows us to find new ways of relating leaving behind the empty tomb.

May the Easter of the Risen Lord be a reason for profound joy and may it bring blessing to all of us. May it be a season of joy and transformation. May you be surrounded and enriched by the love of companions, of family and of friends. Be assured of my prayers for you; please remember me in your Masses and prayers.