Easter Joy – April 2017

You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Isaiah 12:3


My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

As we hear the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection proclaimed this Easter, I hope you share with me the dominant feeling that shines forth from these who experienced that first Easter, one of joy and wonder!  We join with those who longed for the Savior from the beginning of time to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, Peter and John, joyous to learn Jesus has been raised just as He said.   Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God’s mercy, out of love for us, died on the cross, and out of love he rose again from the dead.  That is why we proclaim on Easter and always: Jesus is Lord!

How can we experience the fullness of Easter joy?  We may reflect back upon our Lenten journey.  Prayer, fasting and acts of charity are the ways in which we continually can grow in our experience of Easter joy.  What we find in Jesus after the Resurrection is what we found in Him throughout His public ministry.  Jesus offers peace and reconciliation in an intimate and personal way and then asks the disciples to pass on the very gifts that they have been given: forgiveness, belief, and selfless love. Jesus prays with the disciples.  He assures them in their uncertainty and tells them not to be afraid. He extends charity and understanding to them as He offers them Himself again and again – steadfastly.  He humbles Himself so that He can help others to believe.  He acknowledges them as His friends and is patient with them in spite of their doubt or betrayal.  Jesus invites each one to come to know His divinity and to see him or herself in God’s light.

He asks us to invite in His name.  If Easter joy is to extend beyond April 16, we must invite each one to the table of Easter joy.  Pray for strength to accompany the people of God to the empty tomb and to clothe them in forgiveness.  Deny yourself so that you might visit someone you know who is lonely or troubled and offer him/her the embrace of Christ.  Tend to your neighbor with love as Jesus tended to the man hung on the cross next to him and tenderly gave him the peace of heaven. Offer what Easter offers each one of us, the treasure to begin anew.

Partake in the Eucharist as often as possible to remain rooted in God.  Do not let the inclinations of the world distract us from the Lord’s invitation.  St. Paul reminds us, “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”

Pope Francis said, “Let this experience imprinted in the Gospel, be imprinted in our hearts and in our lives. Let the joyous wonder of Easter Sunday radiate through our thoughts, looks, attitudes, gestures and words …”  We embody His Presence as the fervor of the knowledge, “He is risen!” instills our heart, mind and spirit all the days of our life; that the Father’s kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

May we draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation!