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Easter 2023

Easter Message of Fr. Paulus Budi Kleden

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Dear Confreres, Sisters, Mission Partners, Friends, Benefactors, and Relatives,

We start the liturgy of the Easter Vigil with what is typically called as Lucernarium, the service of light. The Pachal candle is lighted and brought, in the procession, to the center of the church- signifying that Jesus Christ is the true light for the world. The Exsultet sings of the Paschal candle, praying that it “may persevere undimmed to overcome the darkness of this night.”

The symbol of light is a significant element in all the liturgical celebrations of the Church. A symbol that is filled with many associations and meanings. I want to share with you three of them on this momentous and hopeful occasion of Easter.

First, light lets us see the reality and what exists in our surroundings. Resurrection does not take us away from reality. On the contrary, the resurrected Lord encourages us to see and embrace the truth of ourselves and our world, including the wounds, pains, challenges, and frustrations. So often we find ourselves tempted to run away from our dark reality marked by the sufferings we experience and pain we inflict on others. Easter gives us the grace to accept, embrace, and heal these wounds through reconciliation with our own selves and with others. An essential grace of the resurrected Lord is healing, reconciliation, and peace.

Secondly, light frees us from imprisonment in darkness and opens for us new, promising, and hopeful perspectives. Light drives away the darkness, reveals the way out, and animates us to pave a new path. The resurrection story tells us how the Lord frees the disciples from their fears and accompanies them to courageously spread the Good News. We are frequently victims of fear: fear of our past being disclosed, our present being questioned, and our future being blocked. Fear paralyzes. Easter means liberation from our fears, so that we can come out from darkness and be messengers of hope. Yes, resurrection calls us to sow hope in our time and place.

Lastly, light reveals the truth, leads us to communion and strengthens community. Under the light, we can discover what is hidden, recognize others, and feel secure about who we are. It is a moment of Synodality wherein we “journey together,” live out our faith, to find a path toward communion and participation. In encountering the resurrected Lord, the disciples realize their lack of faith, egoistic expectations, and mistrust of the rest of the world. Having disclosed all these, Jesus brought them to the community and encouraged them to build and live as a community. Yes, resurrection empowers us to be people of communion, making continuous efforts to be truthful and respectful.

Light is always associated with Easter - the feast of light. We celebrate the resurrected Lord as the light of and for the world. This is a great opportunity for us to renew our call to be missionaries of light. The second reflection guide for our next General Chapter discusses missio dei as missio lucis. God is light, and his mission is to bring light to the world. He invites and empowers us to be missionaries of light, to embrace our reality in all its dimensions and that includes our various forms of wounds, to overcome fear, and to be truthful and respectful. It is in this wounded world that we are called to witness to the power of the resurrection to heal and transform, and to accompany those who suffer with compassion.

May the light of Easter brings us a renewed life, filled with hope and zeal for mission. A blessed Easter to everyone.

P. Budi Kleden, SVD
Superior General