My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Easter is here, with its promise of spring and new life. What does Easter really mean for us? What message does it bring to the human race immersed in chaos of our own making?
In this day and age our society seems plagued by anxiety, both individually and collectively. Fortunes are made providing people with the necessary help to overcome their fears and anxieties. Societies the world over grow in violence as more and more individuals and groups turn to weapons to “defend” themselves, usually against those that they see as a threat to their self-interest. Ultimately, these individuals become the target of their attacks.
If indeed ours is an age of anxiety, it is because Jesus is not known. He may be talked about, written about, and hours of television and radio programming may be devoted to him, but in practical terms, how Jesus lived and died, and what he taught about how to live and die, have negligible impact on the course of world events. In some ways the living Christ has become invisible to our world. Since Christians continue to try to be the guardians of their own existence, instead of being an extension of God who wants to protect them, he has become unknown to the rest of humanity, which consequently continues to look for a savior.
The message of Easter was first spoken to two women at Jesus’ tomb in these simple words: “Do not be afraid...for He is risen.” Jesus is with us and gives us his ability to overcome any defeat. The true Christian realizes that together with Christ, he can rise above every setback and enter into the true meaning of life.
The Easter message tells us that we need not be afraid of anything, not life with all its insecurities and conflicts, not even afraid of death itself.
When we are filled with the unwavering strength of Christ, our faith will be so deeply rooted within us that in a crisis, we automatically look life in the face and are not afraid.
Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, D.D., J.C.D.