Dear brothers and sisters,
I am writing these few words for my column while I am with my godparents and cousins in Scottsdale, Ariz. for the celebration of Easter.
First of all, thank you to all involved in our liturgical celebrations during Lent and Holy Week. Your ministry and dedication, and the leadership of our priests and deacons, have helped us all to live once again with the Lord the events of our salvation. To all who were baptized, confirmed and received the Holy Eucharist: welcome! We are blessed with your yes to the Lord’s call and we promise now to walk in faith with you.
It needs to be remembered that the liturgical celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord is actually a week (an Octave), and the entire season lasts 50 days. During this time we will hear proclaimed on the Sundays the encounters of the Risen Lord with the Apostles and Disciples. The same Risen Lord who met the disciples and said “Do not be afraid” meets us and proclaims the same! Let us take advantage of every occasion to meet the Lord and He speaks to us!
There have been many recent accounts of the 90th birthday of Emeritus Pope Benedict. He often proudly reflects that he was baptized on Holy Saturday, and that is why the celebration of these days is so important for him, and why the Resurrection of the Lord is foundational to who we are and what we believe, a theme echoed again by Pope Francis this past Easter Sunday.
In his closing reflections on the Resurrection in his book “Jesus of Nazareth,” Pope Benedict says regarding the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection: “If we attend to the witnesses with listening hearts and open ourselves to the signs by which the Lord again and again authenticates both them and himself, then we know that he is truly Risen. He is alive. Let us entrust ourselves to him, knowing that we are on the right path. With Thomas let us place our hands into Jesus’ pierced side and confess: “My Lord and my God!” ( John 20:28).
Alleluia, He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
+ The Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Orange