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  • Christopher Williams

Pastoral Letter for Easter 2024




Father Jeff sends you this letter:


Dear Friends,


I was listening to some people being interviewed on the lunchtime news on the radio a few days ago, as I was driving to see a parishioner. They were being asked what they would send into space to show alien beings what human beings were like. One suggested sending a beautiful painting in order to show what beauty we were capable of creating, another suggested sending Elon Musk's Twitter account, which really confused me, as I don`t really know what that would entail!


As I was stuck in a traffic jam, a not uncommon experience, I had plenty of time to contemplate what I would send were I to be asked. Actually it didn't take me long to decide what I think would convey the very best aspect of humanity. For me, the most extraordinary capacity human beings have, which mark us out from creatures which are more primitive and self-obsessed, is the capacity for compassionate empathy.


And compassionate empathy is one of the most compelling an attractive attributes I see in Jesus of Nazareth. His compassionate love for us in coming to share our experience of being alive; His compassionate response to those He meets who are suffering emotionally or physically; the empathy He displays to to those damaged by unhealthy relationships and the judgement and condemnation of others; His empathy for those who are frightened and facing death, hence being with them, being with us, when we are experiencing those things. He wishes to be with us in all things which wish to erode or disfigure the experience of joy and wellbeing which first prompted our Creator to give us the gift of life, so chooses to enter the suffering of the Cross, overcoming its bite from within and forever changing where that experience leads into one which offers us the opportunity of knowing eternity.


Perhaps over the coming days you can contemplate what you would send into space which most powerfully depicts the best qualities of humanity, which best sums up human life, human achievement, human capacity.


But for now, as we keep these sacred days when Jesus joins us in the most intensely human experiences of loving friendships, fear of death, a sense of failure and abandonment, the desire to offer His life for the good of others, closeness to our desires for peace and wellbeing and so many other things besides, let us give thanks that He is with us whatever life has in store for us and take beyond outer space and into the depths of Heaven, the essential human aspiration to know life and know it abundantly.


With blessings and best wishes


Jeff


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