Easter Message: The Flame of Faith and Hope
Easter marks an important moment on the NPH calendar. Reinhart Koehler, President of NPHI, reminisces of past festivities and reflects on the sufferings in the past year, while lighting a candle of hope for the future.
March 29, 2021 - NPH International
Throughout my years with NPH, I have missed very few Easter celebrations with the children. Invariably, no matter what time of the year Easter took place, it seemed that Good Friday, when we enact the Way of the Cross with the children under the blazing sun, always was the hottest day of the whole year. And that during Resurrection Mass, which starts before sunrise, the temperature seemed way too cold for the time of the year. But then, Easter is, in fact, the celebration of extremes: The painful passion and death of Jesus Christ and His glorious resurrection, death defeated and the hope of eternal life, a life that does not know pain and evil but only love and peace.
Last year during Easter, we were just hitting the first peak of the pandemic. The months that followed brought immeasurable suffering and destruction to the world, in addition to the many tragedies life holds in store anyway. My heart goes out to all of you who suffered losses of loved ones, of livelihood, of what you called home, and those of you who endure serious illnesses you struggle to overcome. The list of suffering just does not end, and yet, here we are, joining our crosses to that of Jesus, who asked God to let that cup pass him by, but ultimately accepted His will. Accepting God’s will is one of the greatest challenges we face in life. In and around our work with the NPH Family we experience many tragedies. The children always ask: “Why is this happening?” I do not try to come up with explanations for the suffering we endure (because I simply cannot explain it), I only try to be present to those whose hearts are broken by losses, who are filled with fear when facing terrible diseases, holding up gently the reminder of the resurrection to inspire courage and hope, and most importantly, that death cannot defeat love, and for that reason, love never ends.
The resurrection mass begins in total darkness until the Paschal Candle is lit. Then each one of us lights his or her candle from that light. We chant “Christ is the light of the world”. A chant that is reflected in Matthews 5,14: “You are the light of the world”, calling us to bring the light of Christ to those around us through serving them, being a mirror of that light, reflecting its rays into the darkest places of the world or the human hearts, reigniting and kindling the flame of faith and hope.
My wish for you is that your light shines brightly, that the resurrection of Christ may be the wind under your wings of hope, that it may help you sore to new heights of courage, kindness and generosity, that in spite of all the suffering you experience or witness, the resurrection will remind you of the precious gift life is.
May God bless you and fill your life with joy, love and peace.
On behalf of the NPH Family, I wish you a blessed Easter,
President of NPH International