Easter Message-2019

Resurrecting our Church (the Body of Christ today)

The Paschal Mystery is still alive today.

We have countless opportunities to bring new life where there is death. As we live through the death and resurrection of Jesus during this sacred season, let us look inwards to see what each of us can do to be true followers of Jesus and to give new life to our Church. We at CCRI have moved from exerting so much energy into "reforming" the institutional church. Rather, we are focused on "re-founding" our church in the spirit of the early Christians. In that first century after Jesus ascended into Heaven, there were small gatherings of Christians with an anointed leader. They were simply followers of Jesus meeting in catacombs and in Christian homes doing what Jesus asked: remembering him by replicating the last supper. In all likelihood, this gathering was not just 12 men but included women and children as well.


Colm Holmes with We Are Church Ireland commissioned this picture to be painted

What can each of us do to be Church in today's world? Love one another through small acts of kindness. Look for every opportunity - in small and inconspicuous ways - to love as Jesus loved. Stand in solidarity with all those who are suffering from injustices

with school children and their families who have been shot down and killed on site; with immigrants fleeing from tyranny; with children still living in cage-like environments separated from their families at the border; with the congregations of Muslims and blacks who have been murdered while worshiping; with citizens suffering from unjust governments.

Help Protect the Earth.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three "R's" to conserve natural resources and landfill space. Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too. Educate. When you further your own education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources. Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean. Choose sustainable. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at www.fishwatch.gov. Shop wisely. Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag. Use long-lasting light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also flip the light switch off when you leave the room! Plant a tree. Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change. Don't send chemicals into our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office. Bike and walk more. Drive less.

Join or form a Small Christian Community. There are small faith communities forming all over the world. These communities are forming to serve numerous purposes. For those who have left the institutional church out of hurt, anger, or frustration, they serve to create loving and supportive community. For others, these small communities serve to add a weekly or monthly gathering onto their parish life. For still others, in some remote parts of the world, they serve to fill the gap of a priest shortage. If you are looking to find such a community, go to this website: www.smallchristiancommunities.org to see if there is one in your part of the world. 

Courtesy of Catholic extension

Encourage and support young people to take leadership in our church.

Young people are taking on more and more leadership in the world. Let this also include leadership in the church. They have the ear of Pope Francis who, in his Palm Sunday address, urged young people to keep shouting and not allow the older generations to silence their voices or anesthetize their idealism.

"March for our Lives" rally in Washington D.C. with 800 other rallies in cities around the world.

On March 28 of this year, Call To Action gathered young people in New York. Whether we agree with their ideals or not, let us affirm these young adults with changes they hope to see in the next 50 years:

Lay people to have control over finances. Women priesthood and bishops. Inclusiveness of LGBTQ in both the parish life and sacraments. Lay people making decisions about their Church. Vatican IV. No more forced celibacy. Magisterium of the people. Anti- racist church. Church that allows nuns to perform the Eucharist. Female deaconate. Small Faith Communities in every parish.

Take the time to talk to people one-on-one. Conversation comes up inevitably when you mention you are now or were raised Catholic. Use these opportunities to talk one-on-one about how the laity can assume far greater responsibility in the Roman Catholic Church. We are truly the Church. In this special season of Easter, let us vow to behave like we are Church. Live as followers of Jesus. Become the Christ presence in today's world.

Wishing all the best for this Easter Season,
Rene Reid
CCRI, director