A message from Father Nick 5, 19th April 2020

Happy Easter to everyone – still!

It’s a special aspect of our greatest feast that this whole week, including our second Sunday, is a continuation of Easter Day. The eight days of our Easter “octave” give us an extended opportunity to let the light of the Resurrection fall across our lives –  a time of beauty and freedom, in spite of current pandemic fears and economic concerns.

And beyond Easter time too, it’s this that makes us who we are. Forty years ago a National Pastoral Congress was held in Liverpool, attended by lay representatives from all parts of England and Wales. The document which they produced was entitled “The Easter People” (borrowing, we believe, from words of St Augustine: We are an Easter People, and Alleluiah is our song!). The early Church treasured such an identity, and so should we.

In a rather delightful way, both of our parish churches preserve a reminder of that identity. In Monmouth, on the left hand side as we face the altar, we see a stained glass window showing Thomas at the moment when he realises that Jesus is risen. It’s the scene from this Sunday’s gospel: Jesus has come into the upper room for a second time and this time Thomas is present. We have his famous statement of faith inscribed in the window: “My  Lord and my God.”

In Ross, we have the equally well-known scene from next Sunday’s gospel depicted on the front of the altar. Jesus has met two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they do not recognise him. He talks to them and expounds the scriptures to them, but only when they are at supper and he breaks the bread for them do they realise who he is. That is the image the congregation faces during each celebration of mass.

Two great moments of faith and two reminders for us to recognise the risen Lord in word and sacrament – and in the presence of his friends. May the lessons of this Easter time for all of us be real and enduring.