April 05, 2023
Dear parishioners of the Archdiocese of Vancouver:
Jesus’ mission of redemption would have been a total failure if his death on Calvary had been the final stop of his journey. But his body didn’t remain in the sepulchre, because he couldn’t be held prisoner by death. That tomb couldn’t hold on to “the living one” (Rev 1:18).
The Resurrection is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of life, of goodness, and of forgiveness.
No one has described the absolute centrality of belief in the Resurrection better than St. Paul. He vigorously affirms that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). Without this firm conviction of Jesus’ bodily Resurrection, Christianity loses its meaning.
Even so, our faith isn’t born from the acceptance of a doctrine but from an encounter with a living Person, with Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. He still walks among us, renewing us and setting us free from all that holds us back from loving him.
Because Jesus is risen and is therefore alive, who will ever be able to separate us from him? Who will ever be able to deprive us of the love of him who conquered hatred and overcame death?
Through the Resurrection, the Lord unleashes the power and grace which give new life to the Church. In our archdiocese, tired and lukewarm parishes will never produce missionary disciples who spread the good news of the risen Jesus. New life will come only from parishes radically committed to the Church’s evangelizing mission, not from those that maintain the status quo.
We are bearers of the stupendous Easter message of God’s triumph over evil and death. We are to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is keeping his promise always to be with us all days, until the end of the world (cf. Mt 28:20). We have to help people discover in Jesus Christ what their life is really about and offer a hope that sustains them.
I urge every parishioner to take on the responsibility of awakening hope in hearts burdened by sadness, in those who struggle to find meaning in life. Be heralds of hope in your family, with your friends, and in the community.
Jesus Christ died and rose for everyone. He is our hope – the true hope for every human being. Just as he did with the women on that first Easter morning, on this Easter of 2023 the risen Jesus is sending out every parishioner in the Archdiocese of Vancouver to be a witness of this hope who repeats the words of the ancient Easter Sequence, “Christ, my hope, is risen!”
He enables us to do this without fear, but solely with the desire to lead everyone to the joy of the Gospel. This is what we are called to do: to experience personally the risen Jesus and to share this experience with others. As Pope Francis has said, “to roll away the stone from the tomb where we may have enclosed the Lord, in order to spread his joy in the world.” Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.
With my blessing and prayers for your families this Easter season,
+ Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB