Jesus entered Jerusalem fully aware that he would be arrested, tortured and crucified. But He rose from the dead and challenged believers to follow Him. We proclaim those events today. Photo/Wikimedia Commons via Waiting for the Word []

Heed Jesus' call

  • March 24, 2016

To read the comments in various newspapers and on web sites, the Church has no place in national policy debates, including the current deliberation on assisted suicide. Of course that’s nonsense at any time of year but it seems particularly absurd at Easter.

The resurrection of Jesus calls Christians to become Easter people, to be filled with faith, hope and joy as they spread the good news and testify to Christ’s mercy by the ways they treat all people, particularly the weak and vulnerable.

Easter calls on Christians to be courageous, righteous and engaged in a world that cries out for moral example. It calls Christians to be passionate and bold and, like the apostles, willing to overcome human doubt and natural anxiety to speak truth in the public square.

It’s important to remember the joyous message of Easter in a world that is increasingly mistrustful of religion. That suspicion is consistently evident in the media. A recent letter in a Toronto paper supporting assisted suicide had the headline, “Keep organized religion out of the debate.” A comment on The Catholic Register’s Twitter feed demanded that Cardinal Thomas Collins “keep his rules to himself and his fellow Catholics, and keep his policies out of government.”

True Christians immediately recognize the impossibility of heeding intemperate calls to bud out. Easter tells us so. Jesus entered Jerusalem fully aware that He would be arrested, tortured and crucified. Then He rose from the dead and challenged believers to follow Him. When He appeared before the 11 terrified apostles who were in hiding He instructed them to go out and preach the truth to all mankind.

Today we proclaim those events during the 50 days from Easter to Pentecost. They are days of spiritual rebirth and renewal, a time of joy, but they should also be a celebration of the conviction and zeal embodied by the original 11 who, facing obvious danger, heroically heeded the call to bear public witness to His message. That call has not changed.

When it comes to debates on matters like assisted suicide, Christians have a right and duty to infuse the public discourse with religious values. Just as the apostles bravely entered public squares and professed their faith, Easter instructs modern Christians to be bold. Christianity was never intended to be practised in seclusion. Jesus had a very public ministry. After His resurrection He went to the apostles behind locked doors and shooed them out into the world.

Christians today are likewise called to be public witnesses, to reflect Christ’s message of charity, justice and mercy in whatever they do and wherever they go. Each time Christians speak in defence of human dignity they proclaim His message. That is the calling, always, which we celebrate at Easter.

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