A message from Bishop Malesic
Then the angel said to the
women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
… go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ …”
Then they went away quickly
from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are “fearful yet overjoyed” as they leave the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.
We can certainly relate to that duality of fear and joy. We fear the rapid spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19, and that it could strike us or someone we know. We have separated ourselves from friends, family members, co-workers and our Church family. Communicating online or by phone just isn’t the same as gathering together in person. This has been a time of great sacrifice for us, knowing that to love our neighbor means that we must keep apart for a time to prevent the spread of this disease.
But, as Catholics and Christians, we are also called to find joy at this time of year — Easter. That is the day when God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead to conquer sin and death. He secured for us God’s loving promise of eternal salvation with him when he came out of that grave.
In the Gospel story, the women ran to announce that Jesus had come back to life. Those of us who have met the Lord Jesus are also called to announce that joyous news. He lives among us! We must never allow fear to overcome our joy at knowing that Jesus is with us, now and always. In the words of the angel, “Do not be afraid!”
Easter is a constant reminder that it is a joy to know Jesus as our friend and Lord. He is alive for us in the Bible and in our daily prayers. He is with us, especially in the body and blood of his holy Eucharist, even if this Easter we can only make a spiritual communion with the Eucharistic Lord in our hearts, using a prayer like this one attributed to St. Alphonsus Liguori in the 18th century:
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you.”
Do not be afraid to let Jesus into your heart. He will lead us from the darkness of this year’s Lent to the light of a new Easter; from fear to joy. Even now we are being prepared by God’s grace to go back into the world as a stronger Church that will give greater praise to God in our worship, serve the poor with increased charity and proclaim the good news with renewed conviction.
What a great day it will be when we come together again, not online, but face to face.
May the Lord bless you and all those who you love and keep you healthy.
He is risen! He is risen indeed.
The Most Reverend
Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg