‘In the midst of the darkness … there is Easter light’

Rev. Jack Ahern

Following is the homily that Rev. Jack Ahern, pastor of St. Gregory’s Parish, has written for Holy Week and Easter:

“Over the past few weeks many images of hope and healing have flooded Facebook, You Tube and the varying news services. One of the more startling and powerful images was that of Pope Francis standing alone in the midst of a barren St. Peter’s Square in Rome at dusk with the rain steadily falling. He spoke to the world on the crisis that envelops us:

“ ‘Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets, and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by. We feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.’

“ ‘We find ourselves afraid and lost,’ Francis said, insisting that for Christians, the present moment is time to choose between ‘what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.’ ”

“The heart of Francis’s argument was that the disciples, too, felt fear, and the antidote lies in Christ and the promise of the resurrection that Easter celebrates. This is a trying time for us all – yet with Christ there walking with us, there is healing and hope; courage and confidence; newness of life.

“In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, there are an abundance of stories where good people have brought a spark of Easter light to this difficult time. Physicians, nurses and other medical staff are on the front lines in the war against COVID-19 and are stressed to the max, but they continue to provide critical care. I also think of those who work in our hospitals in environmental service, transportation, food services, and more. They are truly giving their all in the most unsettling of situations.

“I am also struck by the goodness of first-responders, teachers teaching virtually, store clerks, delivery service and farm workers, sanitation collectors, journalists, and more. To them all, take care of yourselves.

“Sparks of Easter light are also visible in the generosity of the Lower Mills Tavern and other restaurants bringing free meals to area hospitals; the Easter light is able to be seen in the goodness of the Feeney Brothers, the Kraft Family, and Annissa Essaibi George and friends from the Stitch House Dorchester who provided much needed masks.

“The Easter light clearly shines, and I’m always moved by the sight of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren holding signs of love and affection outside Standish Village to loved ones who for the time being cannot have visitors. For the moment we are kinder to one another, making sure our family is well and that our neighbors are OK.

“In the midst of the darkness that hovers over us, there is Easter light.

“As we quietly celebrate Easter 2020, may we remember that God — who possesses a love we cannot begin to fathom — refuses to let death be the victor or have the final word. Jesus has been raised from the dead and he walks with us, offering us healing and hope, courage and confidence, newness of life.

“To you and your loved ones may you have a blessed Easter Season.”