Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy Easter to each of you and your families! The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of our entire Christian faith. To sum up the words of St. Paul: if Jesus has not been raised from the dead then there’s no reason to be Christian (see 1 Corinthians chapter 15). Paul’s point is that everything depends on his being raised from the dead. His Resurrection confirms that there is forgiveness for our sins, that the gates of heaven have been opened for us, that the resurrection of our body is a reality, that we should look forward to seeing our loved ones in the joy of heaven, that our life here on earth has a purpose and aim greater than we could ever imagine. All of this is guaranteed by the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. His victory over sin and death tells us that all of the claims He made are valid and true – His Resurrection is the sign that He is exactly who He said he is: the very Son of God.
I pray that you will experience the deep personal joy that is meant to be ours this Easter, as you see your own life in the light of the Resurrection. Because Jesus has been raised there is forgiveness for your sins, the gates of heaven have been opened for you, your own future resurrection is now a reality, you can look forward to seeing your loved ones in the life to come, and your life now has a purpose that goes far beyond just surviving from one day to the next. What is really wonderful is that all of these promises don’t exclude suffering or fall apart because of our suffering. Rather, just like Jesus, these promises are the result of what happens when in love we cling to God the Father in our trials and sufferings. God’s promises are fulfilled not in spite of suffering, but often through suffering.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard in preparation for our Holy Week and Easter celebrations and made everything so beautiful: our parish staff, our sacristan and assistants, church cleaners and decorators, our musicians and choirs, ushers, altar servers, lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion as well as our greeters and everyone else who served so faithfully. Thank you so much! I pray you have a very blessed Easter Sunday and I look forward to the fifty days we have to celebrate. God bless you all!