Happy Easter, dear friends.
I hope that this celebration of new life will bring you strength, fresh hope and deep confidence in God’s abiding love for you.
Throughout the season of Lent, we have prayed for the grace to turn away from sin and believe the Gospel. We have engaged in practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We have prayed with gratitude and affection for the women and men, girls and boys who will become full members of our church at the Easter vigil.
Now we rejoice in this greatest of our feast days on which we renew our commitment to the Lord who gives us life and to the loving service of our sisters and brothers.
We know that the call to live fully the new life we share — exciting as it is — is not an easy one. It is a vocation that puts us in daily touch with human suffering, our own and that of others. But it also is a vocation that is made possible by, and supported by, the presence and promises of the living Christ.
My hope — the hope of the church — is that we will come to know and love Christ move deeply during the Easter season. We do this by worshipping with the parish community at Sunday Eucharist — a time when we hear and contemplate the wonder of Christ risen and living among us.
We come closer to the Risen One when we share the life he gives us with others through acts of service, words of encouragement, our efforts to reform structures and systems that depress life and its possibilities.
We grow in the love of Christ when we actively support life in all of its stages and, especially, when we defend those who are vulnerable, fragile or threatened.
We become more and more like the Risen Lord as we strive honestly and faithfully to do Christ’s bidding to be salt and light for others. This sharing of the treasure we bear usually is not accomplished in dramatic gesture or spectacular achievement. More commonly, it is realized in humble service rendered in season and out of season, without regard for its cost.
It is that kind of dedication I am privileged to witness every day of my life because I serve among you. Your witness, so faithful and loving, brings strength to many, myself included. It is especially strong when, as is most often the case, the person engaged in such humble service is not without her or his own struggles.
One way to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ is to be attentive to our own spiritual life. If we truly believe that we share in the life of the Risen One through baptism, then we know that we are invited to a deep and intimate relationship with him who dwells within us. It is deeply life-giving to attend to that divine presence — in our quiet moments and in the very active ones.
Lastly, let me encourage you to rejoice in signs of life wherever you find them — in the buds of spring, in a new or deepening relationship, in a moment of healing, in a moment of hope. These — and all of the others that you will name — open us to the Christ who is the center of all life.
Peace to all.