My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A blessed and happy Easter to all of you!
The Lord Jesus has been raised from the dead to a new and all-glorious life. The tomb is empty, and we celebrate Christ’s sacrifice which destroys death and purifies us from sin. We celebrate that Jesus lives, in the flesh – filled with divine glory and immortal life.
This Easter Season especially, we celebrate the vitality of the Church throughout the world, as witness to the saving love of Jesus for us.
“The Church is alive!”
This is how His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI summarized his feelings as he left the Chair of St. Peter this Lenten season. As we are all called to do during Lent, he appraised his life before the Lord, acknowledging his mortality, and confidently submitting to his prayerful understanding of God’s will.
We, the Church, walked with him. We walked, too, with the cardinal-electors as they gathered for their serious responsibility of choosing a new Holy Father.
And, now, we see the Church’s enthusiastic embrace of Pope Francis. We see the Church alive in the pastoral love of our new Holy Father for all God’s children, preaching to us of Christ, “and him crucified,” and risen from the dead.
Animating the Holy Father and all of us who strive to share Christ in and through the Church is the “Lord and Giver of Life” – the Holy Spirit. On the night of his Resurrection, the Lord Jesus breathed out his Holy Spirit upon the apostles gathered in the upper room, and he breathes his Spirit on us as well, giving us life and equipping us for the mission of evangelization.
So this Easter we celebrate new life… new life in the resurrection of Christ… new life in us as the Spirit of God dwells in our own hearts… new life as members of God’s family, the Church.
I make this request of you: Lay hold of the grace God offers in this sacred time! Embrace this season God’s call to begin again your journey with Christ. Embrace anew – along with Pope Francis – our mission of proclaiming the power of the cross, and the hope of the Resurrection.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!