Please accept my prayers and affectionate best wishes as we celebrate the Solemnity of Easter 2005. I hope that it will be a day of new life and peace for you and all of your loved ones, and that you will know the presence of the Risen Lord deep in your hearts.
As I write, I am mindful of those among us who will be baptized or received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. All of us have been supporting them in our prayer and affection during Lent and have been inspired by their spirited and prayerful preparation for the wonderful events of Easter. Now, we rejoice with them as they celebrate their new life in Christ.
Those of us already fully initiated renew our baptismal promises at Easter. In so doing, we join the newly initiated in our common quest to grow in our love and knowledge of the mysteries of Christ throughout the Easter season. The Sunday readings throughout the Easter season are rich and beautiful sources for such growth. Our moments of private prayer open us to the formative and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Faith-sharing experiences with friends often occasion new insights or help to make connections that expand our sense of life. And, there is probably no richer experience of the presence of Christ’s love than in the company of the suffering and the poor.
Easter, after all, is about life in Christ that is abundant and without end. Whether we are experiencing our first Easter or have been around for many more than that, the Lord’s invitation to all of us in this special season is to grow in his life and love. I know that I would love more of both and imagine that you would too. How we respond to that invitation depends on our decision according to all of the circumstances of our lives. But respond we must, and I hope that we can do so, confident that the prayer of the community supports us in our searching Easter quest.
Peace to all.