Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord,
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!” These words of the Psalm response for Easter Day invite you and me to rejoice in the great treasure that is the Easter event in our lives as Christians, but indeed for the entire human race! In the Easter Proclamation (Exultet), the Church sings out: “Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”
Such gladness I liken to the artwork of children designed to be a loving gift to their parents, grandparents and even extended family. How we “ooh” and “aah” over their creations and display them for all to see! Even more, we place them away in a special place because we do not want to lose something treasured.
This year, our world especially needs to rediscover the treasure of the empty tomb and the art of accompaniment that is found with the dawning light of Easter. The Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection announces to the human race the preciousness of each and every one of us in God’s eyes. Just like the Risen Lord Jesus lovingly turned to Mary Magdalene in the garden and addressed her in her confusion, sorrow and doubt by calling her by name, “Mary!” (Jn 20:16), so he does to each of us! In these days of great fear and anxiety in our world, the Easter message reassures you and me that our God has not forgotten us and even goes before us and promises to meet us on the way (cf. Mk 16:7, Lk 24).
We, too, are commissioned as disciples of the Risen Lord Jesus to bring this message to others in our world today (cf. Lk 24:9). As “God’s work of art” (Eph 2:10), you and I are invited to announce the message of Christ’s resurrection by being a living gospel for all people to hear! How then can the beauty of our own lives portray for those struggling to believe or who are weak in faith that there is someone we can believe in—our Savior, Jesus Christ?
The traditional Easter greeting shared with others in Ukraine is, “Christ has risen!” To which one responds, “Indeed he has risen!” Accompanying our brothers and sisters on the difficult road they find themselves on, may you and I take up their greeting, so that we may sow in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”
Happy Easter and be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones for a blessed Easter season!
In the Name of the Risen Jesus,
Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia
Bishop of Syracuse