Gathered as One Family in Celebrating New Life
As members of the Australian Defence Force we are very familiar with those ‘moments of remembrance’ as we gather silently and the Ode of Remembrance is recited.
On these occasions we hear the sombre but noble words towards the end of the Ode: “At the going down of the sun, in the morning, we will remember them. We will remember them” .
Our remembrance on these occasions is a firm and dignified acknowledgement of those who have sacrificed their lives for a cause and a hope. We draw inspiration and gratitude from this remembering perhaps quietly in our own ways seeking to emulate those human qualities and values we find so moving in those who have given of their all in service of their country.
As we enter into Holy Week, the most solemn time of the Church’s year culminating in the Easter celebration, we enter into a’ time of remembrance’. We call to mind the one saving act – Jesus’ Death and Resurrection – the event that has redeemed our world, freed us from sin and given us the promise of renewed hope and eternal life.
But this sacred week is just not a remembrance of a past event when Jesus went to his death and in the midst of hopelessness rose to life in the resurrection.
In calling this event to mind, the life saving event of Jesus takes a dynamic effect in each of us; we are changed! In and through this remembrance we are personally transformed. The Calvary event takes effect in us as we remember his death and resurrection. We die with Christ and rise with him. This is a constantly occurring reality!
The poetic and descriptive words of the of the Ode: “at the going down of the sun, and in the morning” becomes a reality in our lives as the darkness of sin gives way to the bright promise of immortality.
I am sure that for many who put their lives on the line at Gallipoli and elsewhere were motivated by a personal faith in Christ’s resurrection, even in the midst of devastating circumstances and a fear of death. Their belief and values were solely tested in all kinds of circumstances but in their struggle and ultimate sacrifice, their actions are deemed immortal and of the highest order.
Our Catholic Chaplains this week like so many members of the Catholic Military Diocese, past and present, will be gathering in chapels and churches across the this country and overseas whether they be on postings or on deployment, to remember the Easter event. We gathered as one family in prayer and love celebrating the New Life of the Risen Christ. We pray that this new life will take hold of us as we invite the Risen Christ into our lives.
For those who may not be able to physically gather together or perhaps feel isolation from the Church for whatever reason, your prayer wherever and however uttered will be in Christ.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning light, Christ is with us. From death to life, in his crucifixion and in his resurrection, may we remember him, Christ our Lord, Christ our hope, Christ our friend, Christ our life.
Wishing every Easter blessing on you and your family.
Monsignor Peter O’Keefe
Catholic Military Diocese of the Australian Defence Force