Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When the women went to the tomb at dawn of Easter day, something completely unexpected happens, something which unsettles their hearts, something which will upset their whole life. The tomb is open, and they do not find the Lord’s crucified body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed and full of questions: “What happened?”
We know the answer. Jesus’ lifeless body was suffused with the living breath of God and, as the walls of the tomb were shattered, he rose in glory. That is why the angels could proclaim, “He is not here”; He can no longer be found in the tomb.
Today the proclamation of the Lord’s Resurrection vigorously bursts forth. It is the answer to the recurring question of the sceptics, that we also find in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’?” (Ec 1:10). We answer, yes. On Easter morning, the world and all its people were given new life.
We now live in light of the Good News that Jesus is risen from the dead. No longer a captive of death, He is alive and forever accompanies us on our pilgrim way.
Hidden within each of us is a seed of resurrection, an offer of new life ready to be awakened. Through Baptism which incorporates us into Him, His Resurrection becomes our resurrection.
Let Him enter your life, welcome him as a friend. If you have kept him at a safe distance, let Him embrace you with open arms. If following him seems difficult, let Him draw near and give you the strength to live as a disciple.
Our evangelizing mission as the Church begins on Easter morning. The message which we bring to the world is this: in the Risen Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, and life over death.
From hearts immersed in Easter joy, we are compelled to share this Good News that the Lord is truly risen. Like the holy women, we too must obey the Angel’s command to hasten and announce to others the message of joy and hope that is Jesus’ triumph. It is more urgent than ever that the men and women of our age come to know and encounter Jesus.
This joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, this hope that fills our hearts, cannot be contained. We believe in a Risen Lord who has defeated evil and death. Let us have the courage to bring this joy and this light into every corner of our lives, our families and our communities. Jesus’ Resurrection means that He is alive and walks side by side with us in life.
As Catholics in the Lower Mainland, we are being sent out this Easter to awaken hope in hearts burdened by sadness and doubt, in those who struggle to find meaning in life, in the marginalized who suffer from our neglect. As joyful servants of hope, let us announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love.
This is our mission in 2018: to kindle in the hearts of our neighbour hope where there is despair, joy where there is sorrow, light where there is darkness, and life where there is death.
To each of you I offer my heartfelt Easter greetings and the assurance of my prayers: may the joy of Christ’s Resurrection fill your hearts and your homes this Paschal season!
+ J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver