EASTER MESSAGE 2019
“Christ is alive!”
This is how Pope Francis opened his recent exhortation to the youth.
The pope adds, “Jesus is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life.”
This papal message echoes the words the angelic messengers brought to the women who went to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning (Luke 24.1–12): “why do you look for the Living One among the dead? He is not here but has risen.”
After the Resurrection, Jesus and death are incompatible. Henceforth, Jesus shares eternal life with God. And He offers it to us who believe.
The “two men in dazzling white clothes” symbolize a new world order. They remind the women that Jesus often spoke of God’s mysterious plan of His suffering and death. “Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?”
God had fulfilled His promise of resurrection power. Nonetheless, the disciples strain to believe. They probably thought the resurrection was only for the end-time.
On that Easter morning, Peter left the tomb puzzled, for he marvelled that Jesus’ sayings came true.
The linen grave cloths astonished Peter, but he could not yet come to faith. That had to await his encounter with the Risen One later that day. And Peter’s encounter with Jesus transformed him. Peter became more fully alive.
Pope Francis says that such a change can be yours, “Christ is alive and He wants you to be alive! He is in you, He is with you and He never abandons you. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, He will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.”
My Easter wish is that you and your loved ones might allow Christ to come close and work a transformation in your wants and needs. Together, let us share with others this renewed relationship with Christ.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Archbishop of Ottawa and Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall