An Easter message from the Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland
Those of us who have travelled with Jesus Christ in Holy Week in Jerusalem are invited in Easter Week to travel to Emmaus. If Jerusalem is rightly understood to be about death and resurrection, then Emmaus is rightly understood to be about hospitality and recognition. Both involve information and knowledge but, in and of themselves, knowledge and information take us nowhere in particular.
Jesus knew that he was the Son of God. It was the activity of life, death and resurrection that showed him what it was to be the saviour and to live salvation in such a way that he died for our sins and rose again for our justification. The disciples travelling with the stranger to Emmaus knew that there was something special about being his companions on the road and about listening to his grasp of information about events in the recent and the more distant past. But it was only through his capacity for hospitality that they recognized him for who he was. Hospitality gave scope for reconciliation of memory, of hope, faith and love. Perhaps it is not so much that he left them, but that he left them to it – and the it is witness and proclamation of who he is and who they have become: companions of the Risen Lord. They are now to be agents, hosts of such reconciliation.
In the Season of Easter, it is essential that Christian people take the initiative in hospitality. While we are disciples, we are also the hands and the voice of the Risen Lord on earth. Hospitality takes many forms: it involves an integrated ecumenism beyond the inherited divisions of historic separateness; it involves willingness to listen attentively to and share belonging with The Other; it involves friendship offered to and received from those of Faith and Culture different from our own.
In Ireland in 2016 the purpose of discipleship is to build a peaceful, integrated, respectful, joyous Ireland of reconciliation for everyone for the next one hundred years: the indigenous, the stranger, the migrant, the refugee much more than it is to anoint the past uncritically. In the world of 2016 everyone is asked to breathe deeply and to identify with both human suffering and with human hope; with human suffering as highlighted most recently by tragic and devastating death, injury and trauma in Brussels and ongoing atrocities in Turkey, Syria and Iraq; with human hope in the commitment to keep challenging the caricature of The Other as automatically the enemy.
When Christian people are being asked: Who are you? the question is also: To whom do you belong? and: What do you do? and: Why do you do it? Action enables us to recognize the face of Jesus Christ in the face of our neighbour and to share his grace.