Dear Friends in Christ,
May the peace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you!
After 40 days of penitential preparation, we celebrate with new hope and profound joy the radiant mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. We hear anew the words of the angel to the women at the empty tomb: “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, He is not here.” — Mk 16:6.
Jesus has indeed risen. This is the heart of our faith. Because of this extraordinary event, which is both historical and transcendent, new light has shone on our human existence. Evil and sin are conquered. Death is not the end. Christ, victorious over sin and death, offers us a new heritage of life and glory!
Because of our Lord’s Resurrection, we can exclaim with the Apostle Paul: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” — 1 Cor. 15:55. At Easter, indeed every Sunday, we are reminded of Christ’s victory over death. We can say with St. Paul: “… thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 1 Cor. 15:57.
We can learn so much from the profound reflections of St. Paul on the meaning of Christ’s Resurrection. I especially recommend reading and meditating on his inspired words about Christ’s Resurrection being the basis for our faith and the cause of our resurrection in Chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians. At the end of that chapter, St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to persevere with confidence in Christ’s victory as they do the Lord’s work.
In our lives of faith, even in the midst of trials and sufferings, we too can be confident and have a spirit of hope because of our Lord’s victory and our share in that victory through His grace. As we celebrate Easter, let us heed the great Apostle’s words: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” — 1 Cor. 15:58.
A happy and blessed Easter to all!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
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