Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Christ is risen; Alleluia is our song! Happy Easter to you! Today let us praise God for the gift of new life in Christ, a gift won for us through his Passion, Death and Resurrection. St. Peter speaks of this new life and of its implication for all believers when he said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3-9).
This is our faith; this is the message of Easter. We are an Easter people and indeed, alleluia is our song! There is a freshness about Easter, which is characterized by hope. Hope is a very important Christian virtue and a gift from God. Without it, life will be dreary and certainly unbearable. Hope helps to combat the anxieties that are sometimes associated with the future, providing the believer with a firm footing in life. In today’s Gospel, Mary of Magdala approaches the tomb and encounters something utterly new – the empty tomb!
In the empty tomb we see that death itself has been vanquished; that life as we know it is forever transformed because of the gift we have in Christ. It is as though Christ is saying to us: trust in me, my child and let nothing bother you. If I can conquer death, is there anything too great for me to accomplish for you? Let nothing worry you. Trust in me instead. Come to me and you will even now know the joy of the new and everlasting life that I bestow.” Only a gift that surpasses death is capable of instilling true confidence in the individual. This is the core of the hope that we speak of and it is the gift of Easter.
Finally, beloved, let us daily strive to persevere in our Christian faith. In the midst of the challenges that come our way, may we never falter. Rather, may we “even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 8:3-5).
We are one Holy Family parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples.
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma