WHILE SOME people might think of Good Friday as a sombre time, the feast of Easter is actually a time of great joy as we celebrate the message of hope brought to us by the death and resurrection of Our Lord.
This Easter has even greater significance for me and, I hope, for all South Australians for two reasons.
Firstly, this is our first Easter since the canonisation of Mary MacKillop, so when we go to church today and to Mass on the weekend, we do so in the knowledge that Australia’s first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, would have done exactly the same thing when she was a young woman here in South Australia.
Her relationship with God was incredibly strong and no doubt the feast of Easter, from Holy Thursday through to Easter Sunday, would have been of the utmost importance to her. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop is a great example to us of how our faith in God can help us to deal with adversity and also to never see a need without doing something about it.
Her sainthood name of St Mary of the Cross also has particular relevance at Easter when the cross figures so prominently.
Mary never stepped back from carrying the cross and it was that willingness to suffer and remain faithful to the Lord that characterised her life as a person and contributed to the depth of her holiness. So as we celebrate Easter it is an apt time for us to reflect upon her life and the mystery of the cross in her life and how we can duplicate that in our own lives too.
The second reason for special celebration this Easter is the impending beatification of John Paul II on May 1 when our local Polish community and indeed all South Australian Catholics will pay tribute to the man dubbed the people’s pope. His death on April 2, 2005 came as Easter approached and resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of grief as more than three million pilgrims paid their respects as his body lay open in St Peter’s Basilica.
At the very end of his life, when he was hardly able to voice anything, he was a great example to others by the way he lived his life. From John Paul II, we can learn that the little things we do in love, rather than what we say, are great signs of our belief in the Lord.