Like everyone else, I was very shocked by the bomb attacks in Brussels this week and the injuries and loss of life they caused.
I pray for those who were killed and I pray for the recovery and well-being of those who were injured or afflicted.
Violence perpetrated in the name of religion is also a central feature of the Christian story of Holy Week.
Jesus Christ was arrested, violated and put to death for ‘blasphemy’. Catholic Christians over the last five weeks of Lent have been following the journey of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem.
During this past week, Holy Week, we commemorated on Palm Sunday the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, on Maundy Thursday his establishment of the Mass at the Last Supper, and on Good Friday the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and his passion and death on Calvary.
Sin, suffering, sickness and death, so evident this week in Brussels, but also evident in different ways in all of our lives, are aspects of human living that are central to the life of Christ.
Jesus himself suffered their effects, but more importantly, we believe He overcame them; Calvary was not the end.
On Easter morning he rose from the dead. This is why for all Christians, Easter is the most important moment of the year, a moment that changes everything.
We believe if we are deeply united with Jesus and the joyful power of His resurrection, we can overcome suffering, sickness and death and rise to live a new life.
To give you an example, I was upset to read in The News earlier this week that the city could be on the verge of a homelessness crisis. It makes me anxious about what we can do.
As Christians we are called to see Jesus in the needy and to help where we can. This is why many parishes in our diocese help in different ways the poorest of our society by, for instance, supporting food-banks.
As you share Easter eggs this Sunday, please remember that the sign of new life we celebrate is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And pray for those who, for one reason or another, will not be enjoying that luxury this Easter.
On behalf of the clergy and people of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, I wish you a Happy Easter!