Meditation by Brother Matthew

Easter 2024: Let us dare to believe in the sign of the empty tomb


Thank you for coming to Taizé with us this week to walk together with Jesus, who gave his life for us all out of love, and who shows us that this love is stronger than death.

That is what we are celebrating these days. Not even the torture of the Cross, not even the abandonment by those closest to him, could divert him from his desire to make us understand that God loves every person unconditionally and offers forgiveness to those who want to accept it.

Yesterday we were together in silence at the foot of the Cross with Mary, Jesus’s mother, and Jesus’s beloved friend John. Jesus’s community had disintegrated. Judas had betrayed him. Peter denied him. Most of his disciples fled.

All Jesus did to build a life of loving communion seemed to be coming to an end. But at the darkest moment, in the midst of the violence, we saw this community reborn at the foot of the Cross. His mother received a son, the beloved friend. The friend received a mother.

At the foot of the Cross, the Church is born. Not from human triumph and victory. It is communion renewed, when we stand alongside those who suffer, often innocently.

Today we are waiting. This is the day of the great silence. In his first epistle, Saint Peter tells us that Jesus went down to visit people who had died without knowing him, to bring them the good news of his love.

On the icon we followed in procession, Jesus is drawing Adam, the first man, towards the light. In the same way he comes to meet us all in our refusals, to free us and to offer us his peace.

Tomorrow morning, we will rise early to welcome the new day, when we shall celebrate Jesus’s return to life. We shall listen to texts from the first part of the Bible about how God set his people free.

It’s true that some of these texts are difficult to grasp today, but these Exodus stories teach us the meaning of the liberation offered to us all.

For we all need liberation: whether from our inner bondage, in our societies, or even in more difficult situations where our lives, our freedom or the freedom of our country are at stake.

These stories show us that there is a better place, a more attractive world, a promised land. They also show us that the way to the promised land is through the desert.

There is no other way to get from here to there than to join and walk, to journey together. And then we understand how these stories have inspired people across the centuries in their struggle for freedom.

Will we be among those who want to fight with their lives to free our human family from all that oppresses it? Will we be among those who care for God’s wounded Creation? Will we be on the side of peace and justice?

At the European meeting in Ljubljana earlier this year, I proposed that we become pilgrims of peace in our pilgrimage of trust on earth. On March 7th, we went on a long walk of 34 kilometres with the brothers, sisters, volunteers and young people who were in Taizé that week.

We made four stops in village churches along the way to listen to the testimonies of people from Gaza and Israel, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine, and to pray for them.

Listening to these voices makes us present in some way to their suffering, and expresses our desire for a just peace in the situation in which they find themselves. In the coming weeks, one of our brothers will be going to the Holy Land as a sign of our solidarity with those who are currently suffering there.

Are you ready to become pilgrims of peace when you return home? This means not forgetting those who are suffering. By walking together with others, by praying for them, we express a hope for a future peace in the justice that Christ promises us. Even if we are just a few, this can be a powerful sign of our desire for a future of freedom for all.

Tonight we have with us Ivanka from Ukraine: what can we do to support the Ukrainian people? "The war is very exhausting and some people are feeling very depressed, so please remain for us Ukrainians a visible sign of hope. Stay with us faithfully until the end.

Pray and speak not only for peace, but also for justice. Proclaim the truth about crimes, and don’t be afraid to call evil by its name".

One last thing: at the end of this year, the European meeting will take place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

Ülle, what do you hope for from the meeting? "We look forward to welcoming you to Estonia. It’s a small country with a big heart. Come and help us give witness to Jesus to our young people. Come and pray for peace. Come and build an open, safe and fraternal Europe for today."

Now we are going to continue with the prayer, but before we start singing again, let’s each whisper to the person next to us: Christ is risen!

And beginning tomorrow and for the weeks to come, greet your sisters and brothers in faith with that greeting. Let us dare to believe in the sign of the empty tomb. And then the peace and joy of the Risen Christ will be with us all!

Last updated: 1 April 2024