The Way of the Cross of CL university students in Caravaggio (Photo: Carlo Colombo)

Easter: the beginning of a new journey in history

The message of Monsignor Filippo Santoro, Archbishop of Taranto, to his diocese and the Memores Domini, for whom he is Special Delegate of the Pope
Filippo Santoro*

What is the real message of Easter beyond the call to hope, solidarity, commitment to the fight against injustice? All things that are proclaimed even without the Christian faith?
It is the proclamation that with the resurrection of Jesus the Nazarene, death has been defeated and that our destiny is not "the infinite vanity of everything" as Leopardi painfully asserted while longing for the infinite. Is victory over nothingness possible? And not for philosophers, but for ordinary people who mourn the death of their loved ones; for those who have seen their children drowned in the Mediterranean and long for the caress of consolation? How is it possible for something eternal to be introduced into our short history?

Is Easter morning really the beginning of a radical newness in history?
The gospels tell us yes and proclaim something more and different than the purely natural desire to abide and not disappear. But what happened that morning? It certainly did not come out of nowhere, but the Nazarene's whole life proclaimed a difference, a fullness incomparable to anything else. To be with Him was beautiful; it surpassed the wisdom of the scribes and the rigid righteousness of the Pharisees in every way. Jesus was one like us, but He was another who said, "Your sins are forgiven, get up and walk," not sinking into sadness. He also said, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lost his own soul?" His soul?

On Easter morning something definitive happened. Within our history there is a definitive point; a man, crucified and risen, who illuminates everything else. The tears of Our Lady of Sorrows and all the mothers and fathers who lose their children are still there, but the Lord's victory touches time and communicates itself to the Magdalene, to the Apostles, and from them to us as an unstoppable stream of life. It is greater than us; it is not something invented by us. For us it would be impossible; it is the fruit of the power of the Mystery that communicates itself sensitively. Easter morning is the beginning of a new journey through all of history.

From that morning and from the gift of the Spirit was born the experience of the witnesses of Jesus that comes down to us in the fragile and at the same time irreducible sign to the world that is the Church, now led by Pope Francis spread throughout the world. So many people who are fragile like everyone else, but who make it possible to encounter even physically the presence of Jesus of Nazareth, victorious over death. And the Pope testifies today that this new life, this mercy is for all a source of mercy, solidarity and peace, even in the contradictions of the present.
Happy Easter!

*Metropolitan Archbishop of Taranto and Special Delegate of the Pope for the Memores Domini