Easter Message
Christ Amongst You, Your Hope of Glory

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our world is still threatened by evil and despair, and against this background we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus. This feast is an affirmation of God’s love for us, for God did not allow death to reign supreme over Jesus: Jesus conquered death and so became the fount of our faith, the certainty of our hope and the power of our love.

Because of the Resurrection, we take to heart the words of St. Paul when he reminds the community at Colossae that the Christ was among them as their hope of glory (Col. 1:27). These words of St. Paul echo the promises of the Lord: “I shall not leave you orphans” (Jn. 14:18). “I am with you always, even to the end of time” (Mt. 28:19-20). In these promises Jesus reiterated the meaning of his own mission, the mission to be Emmanuel, God with us (Mt. 1:23). Jesus desired to be forever true to his name, to be “God with us”. If then, God is with us, who can be against us?

When there is much hopelessness in the world, darkness and doubt can seep into our own hearts, giving rise to much anxiety and even antagonism. Because Christ is amongst us as our hope of glory, we must continually take heart and not give in to despair and desolation. As we hope to attain the glory promised us in the Resurrection, we must also continue to spread the word of God, for it is that word which is spirit and life (Jn. 6:63), it is that word which is a light for our path (Ps. 119:105)

Once again at Easter we here in Hong Kong are grateful that the word of God continues to take root in the hearts of our brothers and sisters. We welcome some two thousand new members into our community as they receive baptism this Easter. We pray for them. We pray that, in union will Christ who is their hope of glory, they too may become with us the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Mt. 5:14-16). Against the background of worldwide uncertainly and lack of hope, these newly baptized place their hope in Christ. Their faith gives them the certainty of God’s love for them, the confidence to proclaim their faith in Christ as they enter the church.

Each Easter, as we proclaim “the Light of Christ”, we share St. John’s confidence: “The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 Jn. 2:8). The darkness has not yet entirely passed away and so there is still much darkness over the earth. The true light is already shining, for Christ is risen! Christ is always and everywhere with us. He is our hope.

For us, hope is never an emotion, a particular stance towards the world, a stoic heroism in the face of adversity. For us, hope is the person of the risen Christ, present in the church, his mystical body, present in the Eucharist at the heart of the church, present in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The more united we are with Christ, the more will we have hope. Union with Christ may, indeed, reveal to us in an even clearer light our own weaknesses and limitations. That clearer light will, at the same time, become a light of hope, for we will with St. Paul realise that it is not our weaknesses and limitations which are significant, but rather the strength of God (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

St. Paul prays for this strength for his community at Colossae: “May you have the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear everything joyfully, thanking the Father who has!K enabled us to join the saints and with them to inherit the lights” (Col. 1:11-12). In these dark days for humanity, we would do well to make this prayer of St. Paul’s our own. For in the communion of saints we too by God’s grace will experience the gift of strength. In that strength we will experience a joyful and grateful hope as, together with Christ, we become the light of the world (Jn. 8:12; 9:5).

Christian hope bears within it the responsibility of carrying Jesus’ message of faith, hope and love to the whole world. That mission can only be realised through a deep interior conversion where we ourselves become imbued with the hope of Christ. Then we shall more faithfully be the light of the world and a vehicle of Christ’s hope in the midst of darkness. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may bound in hope” (Rom. 15:13)

+ John Baptist Cardinal Wu
The Bishop of Hong Kong
Solemnity of St. Joseph 2002

[Published in Sunday Examiner, 31 March 2002]