My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Love drew Mary Magdalene to Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday. In the pre-dawn darkness she set off in grief to anoint his body. Instead, she found an angel, an empty tomb and the announcement: “He has been raised, just as he said.” Fearful, but overjoyed, Mary ran quickly from the tomb to tell the astonishing news to Peter. On the way, the Jesus appeared and greeted her, “Do not be afraid.” Grief gone and fear dispelled, joy alone now propelled Mary from the garden with the Good News, “Jesus, My Hope has arisen” (Easter Sequence). Faith, hope and love draw you to church this Easter Sunday. Like Mary you have your hopes and joys, griefs and sorrows. At Easter Mass you, like Mary, encounter and receive the Risen Christ who tells us all “Do not be afraid.” In life, many things can prompt fear and stifle hope. Division and discord mar our politics and may touch our families. Worries about health, safety and economic opportunity can undermine our sense of optimism. Changes in society and cultural mores may leave us unsettled, guarded and discouraged. But in the face of it all, we are filled with hope. Ours is a hope that stems not from a culture, country or economic system. Our hope is based in God and on His love for us. Out of love, God sent His Son into the world. Out of love, His Son went to the Cross to save us from our sins. Out of love, Jesus suffered death and then defeated death that we might share forever in God’s glory. Easter shows us that, in the end, good triumphs over evil, redemption overcomes sin and God’s love is stronger than death. After Easter, we need not fear anything that befalls us in this world, even the sins we repent. We are not only freed from fear but we are liberated to live bold lives marked by faith in the Risen Christ and a confident hope that we, too, will share in God’s love that on Easter triumphed over all.
With every prayerful best wish for a joyous
I remain Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester