Archbishop Comensoli’s homily echoed recent anti-violence campaigns.
“Whether accepted or hidden; whether recognised or dismissed; whether maximalised or minimalised – the path of violence is darkness for our humanity, and nothing else,” he said.
Three of Jesus’s female followers, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had witnessed the violence of his crucifixion and seen “the way violent power corrupts our humanity”.
They had come, out of love, to anoint Jesus’ body then, when they found it gone, spread the good news of the resurrection.
Archbishop Comensoli said we needed “the Marys and the Salomes, the trustworthy witnesses who stand up to the violent darkness” and show us a way to walk towards light, peace and hope of new life.
“We need their encouragement, built on their courage and faithfulness. We need their hope, built on simple acts of care and tenderness. We need their acts of love, so that we might see that our acting from love is not wasted.”
Among the multicultural congregation on Sunday were German immigrants Markus and Frida Barth, of Hampton, and their daughters, Carla, 5, and Josefine, 2.
The couple, originally from Stuttgart, wanted to pass on the traditions of Easter to their children because their own childhoods had involved going to church.
“I think it tells them a lot of interesting stories, that you can also translate for your life,” Mr Barth said.
Croatian immigrant Kathy Nalis, 77, came from Dandenong North with her daughter, Maryanne, 53, granddaughter Julia, 27, and other relatives and friends because it was a special occasion.
Ms Nalis said it felt “absolutely wonderful” to be here.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.
“It’s a special place. It’s a big celebration, especially for us Catholics.
“This is the place to be, on a day like today.”
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Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.