Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the glory of the Resurrection and the light of the Risen Christ be with all of you! We thank God most joyfully for His gift of Easter, and for the Church in which we have faith, hope, and charity.
The Victorious Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the doorway into faith. “Unless a grain of wheat shall fall to the ground and die, it remains only a single grain.” By freely choosing to mount the Cross for us, Jesus destroyed the power of death and sin, and redeemed us from the eternal death which our sins truly merit. O holy Victory! For this Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world, “while we were yet sinners,” so that we might also share in the same Passion, death, and Resurrection with Him. The forty days of Lent have given us a chance to know the importance of Christ’s suffering and death. Now we have 50 days to rejoice in the Resurrection.
While hanging on the Cross, Christ allowed the soldier’s lance to open His side, and poured forth for us the stream of Precious Blood and living water, into the seven sacraments of His Church. Here we receive His most generous gifts of mercy, as often as we are in need. From our Baptism to our final Anointing, every day of our life Christ Jesus offers us divine mercy. And like our Lord's most blessed Mother, who received the merciful Word with ready obedience, we too must be open to God’s love poured into our hearts at Easter.
These special days of Easter are given to us to rejoice in the Easter sacraments, especially the Eucharist we receive at Mass each Sunday. Because of the grace given to us at Easter, we can rejoice in following the Ten Commandments and in living out the eight beatitudes. It is in joy and hope that we continue to reach out in charity to our neighbors and all those in need. With renewed hope, we can love and support the Church and her mission on the world. We proclaim loudly the Alleluia of Easter to our world who so often is closed off in darkness and depression. We have a different message to proclaim to our families, our friends and our co-workers. It is a message of light, hope and joy.
The message of Easter, of hope and new life, is not always going to be well accepted in our world. Proclaim it anyway! Be joyful with your family! Live your faith and be proud of it. As St. Paul reminds us, “Therefore run, so as to win the race!” We run with St. Peter and St. John to the empty tomb of Christ. He has risen, let us never be afraid to share the joy, the good news of the Resurrection.
The Cross opens to joy and eternal life. From the outside, we see mostly the pain of the Passion, the agony of the death. But we “glory in the Cross,” not as a means of death, but of victory over death. Remember that He chose the Cross. He was not the powerless victim, but the one High Priest, offering an eternal sacrifice for our sakes. He suffered so that we can be free; He died so that we can live.
In our baptism we are called. In the discipline of Lent, we are prepared. Now is the time! Now the light of Christ kindles in our hearts, with a new dawn of His true life for us! Dearest friends, as we stand together now, seeing the glorious triumph of the Savior rising from the dead, I beg you, enter again and more fully the hallowed doorway of the Victorious Cross. Receive Him with utmost Joy! Our Savior is risen, alleluia, alleluia, and the night is made bright as day! May the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ give each of us renewed faith, hope, and charity, and may we never be separated from His mercy and grace, in this life and in the next. Most joyous Easter!
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless,
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