Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Canada tells us that Christians are to see themselves as “raised with Christ." More than that, they are called to spread the mystery of Easter to the world.
Published below is his complete Easter message. On behalf of His Grace, Archbishop Prendergast and our entire team at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, we wish all of our viewers, listeners and benefactors a very blessed Easter season.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
At the Easter Vigil, we hear Mark’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb.
The evangelist tells us that the faithful women who went to anoint Jesus’ body “fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them”. He says that, out of fear, they said nothing to anyone (Mark 16.8).
This abrupt gospel ending—without resurrection appearances—might leave you wondering how the message of Jesus’ resurrection became known. It challenges you to a personal decision about the truth implied in the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb.
Could the disciples have stolen the body and perpetrated a hoax in proclaiming the resurrection? Could someone else have taken the body of Jesus away? These notions give way to faith and to our conviction as Christians that Jesus has truly risen from the dead.
In the creed, Christians profess our faith that Jesus rose from the dead. We also believe that the rest of the angel’s promise happened.
We know from Church history that, against great odds, the apostles proclaimed the gospel. Some, perhaps most, gave their lives as martyrs to this faith. We are confident that Jesus really did keep the promise he made on the night before he died. He said, “After I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Mark 14.28)
In Galilee, Jesus reunited his followers and sent them on mission. Just so, Jesus sends us to spread the Good News in our “Galilees,” here in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.
We are to proclaim what Peter declared, by the way we live. He announced, “God raised [Jesus] on the third day and allowed him to appear…to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
During Eastertide, we contemplate the striking encounters of the Risen Jesus with his disciples. We see that he gave a mission to those he met at meals or on the road.
Like the earliest Christians, we meet our Risen Saviour in the sharing of the Word and in the “breaking of the bread.” We celebrate these at Mass on the Lord’s Day.
In the words of the Epistle to the Colossians, we Christians are to see ourselves as “raised with Christ.” With minds on “the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” and guided by the Spirit of the Risen Lord, we are to spread the mystery of Easter to our world—to our family, schoolmates and friends, to our neighbours and co-workers.
May the Risen Lord Jesus bless you. And may Mary, morning star of the new evangelization, intercede for us to become messengers of Easter joy!
Sincerely yours in Christ
+Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Archbishop of Ottawa
Credit: CNS photo