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I come into your communities with joy to bring my Easter greetings to you and that I extend to the educating communities, to the young people, and to all the groups of the Salesian Family, especially the Rector Major and our Salesian Confreres.
There are many sentiments that I would like to express on this celebration central to the Christian faith. I will do this with some key words drawn from Liturgical passages of Easter Sunday.
We are Witnesses
Let us look above all at the witness of Peter to Jesus of Nazareth. That Jesus, with whom Peter and the other disciples had eaten, drunk, conversed, and shared the journey until His death on the Cross, is now risen. This is the amazing news of Easter. With His resurrection, Jesus brings salvation to completion. He reconciles us with God, thus showing us His merciful face. Dear Sisters, it would be beautiful if in the Year of Mercy we would begin with an effort for reconciliation, expressing it in community and in the mission with simple, eloquent, concrete gestures, with life itself. Like Jesus, we too must be ready to give our life deeply. We are called to a reconciled life, with the certainty of the resurrection in our heart. At this moment, I am thinking of our many sisters and brothers in the world who confess their faith to the point of martyrdom. More and more today, following Jesus means taking into account the highest witness of the total gift of self in the sacrifice of one’s life.
Mary, tell us what you saw on the way?
These words of the Easter Sequence are an invitation to tell of the living God whose presence we recognize in our life and in that of our brothers and sisters, with fragile and poor signs perhaps, but ones that are authentic. More than ever, today there is the need to speak of life and of hope.
We can do this if we leave aside our plans, our repetitive daily habits that are sometimes deprived of the signs of resurrection. Jesus is our true hope. He precedes us and waits for us on the streets of our daily life, lived in a new, extraordinary way. Only in this way can we awaken the world, as Pope Francis expects from consecrated persons.
He saw and believed
Peter sees the empty tomb but, through faith, he sees beyond. He believes in the resurrection as the greatest miracle of history. Thus begins a radical change in him. His faith conquers fear and gives him the missionary audacity to proclaim Jesus and continue His mission.
The grace of the resurrection must bring us as well to become channels to irrigate arid lands dried up by drought or even fertile lands, ready for the seed of God’s Word from which will come the fruit of reconciliation: “In hope – Peter says – you have been saved”.
The change of mentality, invoked by General Chapter XXIII, will only come if we allow ourselves to be transformed by Jesus, if we live His life, if we assimilate His sentiments, if we open ourselves to the time of grace begun with the Paschal Mystery.
If you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above
The fruit of Easter is a new way of seeing, of understanding, of acting. The risen heart is a heart in love, attentive and vigilant. It knows how to recognize God’s signs in history: a heart that knows how to be so close to others so as to transport them to a higher plane, the plane of hope and of joy. Thus it is a heart that knows how to receive the gift of peace, that gives peace, and that dares peace because it opens itself to the dialogue of life and of works.
Don Bosco wisely recommended remaining with our feet on the earth, but with our heart inhabiting heaven. We too must learn ‘to come down from the balcony’, as Pope Francis asks, to share in solidarity the life of the people and to know how to see the needs of the poor, of the young who so often live on the peripheries of existence, as well as to be near the peripheries of our communities with a heart that generates life.
To be missionaries of joy and of hope is not only the invitation of Pope Francis to us FMA, but it is an Easter appeal that asks Christians to witness to the joy of the resurrection always and everywhere.
How lovely it would be to live Easter by creating a corner of hope: in our heart, in our communities so often weighed down, in the hearts of the young who, with their silent invocation, yearn for the resurrection, notwithstanding the signs of destruction and death that surround them, because the Resurrection is the last word.
I extend my warmest wishes to your families, to all who frequent our houses, and to all whom you meet on your journey. Bring to all the joy and the hope and the peace of the Risen Christ!
Sister Yvonne Reungoat, FMA