My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts of all who encounter Christ.” Pope Francis’ words were never more apt than on Easter when the women in the garden, the disciples on the road to Emmaus and the Apostles in the upper room encountered the Risen Christ. With that encounter, the grief, dismay and shock of Good Friday gave way to the joy of Easter. Filled with that joy, the women ran from the garden to tell the Apostles, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to spread the good news, and the Apostles, after being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, went out to the whole world to preach the Gospel.
At the beginning of Lent, Pope Francis warned us that indifference to God and to neighbor is a real danger in the modern world. The Holy Father urged us to use Lent as a time of interior renewal to reject indifference toward others and to shun a dangerous withdrawal into ourselves. Love, he wrote, conquers indifference.
The events of Holy Week and Easter commemorate history’s greatest act of love and our unfailing reason for hope. The death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ show us that good triumphs over evil, that redemption overcomes sin and that life and love outlast the shadow of earthly death. Celebrating these events in our liturgies, meditating upon them in our devotions and reflecting upon them in our prayer, we too encounter the Risen Christ and our reason for joy. God’s infinite love and mercy for us cannot leave us indifferent. Rather, the event of the Resurrection should compel us, like those who encounter the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday, to bring the joy of Easter and the good news of God’s love to those around us.
May God’s blessings be with you, your loved ones and all you encounter this Easter Season.
With every prayerful wish, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester