SYDNEY (CNS) — The recent response of two parents to the deaths of three of their children and a niece illustrated what Easter is about, said Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
The response “was a superhuman one, a supernatural one, an Easter one,” Archbishop Fisher said in his Easter homily April 12.
The congregation was limited to 10 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the parents — Leila Adbdallah and her husband Danny — were among them. Leila Adbdallah read from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians during the Mass, which was broadcast and livestreamed around the nation by the Channel 7 Australian commercial television network.
“This is not a family of superheroes or saints: These are ordinary people who, by God’s grace, could do extraordinary things in the most terrible of circumstances,” Archbishop Fisher said.
On Feb. 1, the four children were killed by a car driven by an alleged drunk driver, which mounted the curb as they were walking home after buying ice cream.
Speaking to media just days after the deaths, Leila Abdallah said the couple forgave the driver of the vehicle and that they believed their children were in heaven.
Archbishop Fisher said Christian faith in the resurrection is what gives confidence that the children, Anthony, Angelina and Sienna Adbdallah and Veronique Sakr, “have been brought back to life with Christ, and that enables us to let go of earthly thoughts like anger and revenge, self-protection and the rest, and dwell instead on heavenly things like peace and love, and the glory our young ones now share with Jesus.”
The archbishop told families across the nation that Christ’s resurrection remains just as relevant as ever in an age dominated by science, technology, affluence and education, big government and media.
It’s precisely to address the sickness of sin that Jesus died and rose, as well as to address sin’s triumph in death, he said.
But while medical science could address a crisis such as the current coronavirus pandemic, people everywhere still wonder if there is such a thing as life after death. Meanwhile, the deep-seated moral, intellectual and emotional problems of human existence remain and are “far more resistant to cure,” he said.
And while the COVID-19 crisis eventually will pass, it is up to everyone to ensure that the “new normal” that Australia will arrive at “is a better normal, more just and compassionate, more hopeful and caring.”
While “Good Friday tells from what we are saved … Easter Sunday tells for what we are saved,” he said.
“And the Easter season which begins today and extends to the end of time proclaims loud and clear by whom we are saved: Jesus Christ, our sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”
Before Communion, Archbishop Fisher invited all those watching to make a spiritual Communion. He included those who had planned to become members of the Catholic Church at Easter and had been looking forward to receiving the Eucharist for the first time.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103