On Easter Sunday morning, Cardinal Vincent was once again the sole celebrant at Mass in an empty Westminster Cathedral, but he was joined by a virtual congregation of thousands who live streamed the Mass.
Today he spoke about the message of the Resurrection. Peter was the first to enter the empty tomb, ‘for he was to be the first witness to the Good News of the Resurrection’.
When Peter first announces the good news, ‘his first words were “you must have heard”. All Jerusalem was buzzing’ with the news of what had taken place.
‘It’s not so today,’ said the Cardinal. ‘Our society does not buzz with excitement about the Resurrection of Jesus,’ noting that most media make no mention this good news. ‘So we can’t say, “you must have heard”. We must become the witnesses, telling the story over and over again.’
‘Yesterday, Her Majesty the Queen reminded us of this,’ he continued. ‘Easter is not cancelled. We have more need of Easter now than ever before. That is true. The message of Easter finds a place in our hearts when we have a need for that message.’
During the coronavirus pandemic, when people are in danger, our society is in need, he said. ‘There is more openness to hearing the message of the Resurrection, to hear the words spoken by the Angel at the empty tomb and by Jesus: “do not be afraid.”’
Turning to the words of St Paul in the second reading (Col 1:3-4) where tells us that we are to look to the heavenly things, the Cardinal noted that ‘the Resurrection opens a new horizon. Even in these days, when we face death, the death toll being the first item on the news, we need to look to the longer horizon, the things of heaven.’
‘The things of heaven are present here too,’ he said. ‘In every celebration of Mass we use the things of heaven, when we sing “Glory to God”, when we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy”. We are united in the things of heaven, so it is in heaven that we look for our guide, our source of light, our direction.’
Our actions too can reflect the ways of heaven. ‘Every time someone acts generously and does not count the cost, we see inside heaven and the rewards of heaven.
‘When we refrain from judging others according to the criteria of the world, we act in the ways of heaven. When we refrain from judging, we recognise that the only judgment is that of heaven.
‘When we stay resolute in the face of fear and grasp of the things of heaven, we reach out for the things of heaven.
The key to the kingdom of heaven is the cross of Jesus, he noted. It is a ‘cross carried in triumph’ and we are to follow where it leads, knowing that Jesus is always with us.
‘The instruction to the Apostles was “go to Galilee because Jesus is going before you.” Keep in mind as we enter the next length of weeks, we need to know that Jesus goes before us, that he accompanies us, that he is the Lord of Life. He is our resource, our resilience, so that we can live our lives with dignity, with compassion, with the eyes of heaven.
‘Know that in him everything, every darkness is overcome.’