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An Easter Message from Bishop Steven J. Raica
My brothers and sisters in the Lord,
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!”
Through our acts of prayer, fasting and charity during our Lenten journey, we have been conforming our hearts and minds to the Lord! We reminded ourselves of the longings of our hearts. What will answer the longing I feel deep down? What will satisfy my deepest desires? What will enable me to live -- not just for a few years but to experience a life without end? What will fulfill my hope that I am made for something?
Many questions such as these cause our hearts to look for a sign or an answer that will answer this longing. Our Christian faith in the Resurrection of Jesus gives us hope. It reminds us that there is a future. It reminds us that we are made for something great! It reminds us that we can know the answer to the very question of my life! The cry that we experience for a life everlasting is answered in the Resurrection.
I can’t help but think of the disappointment the Apostles and disciples felt after witnessing the brutal crucifixion of someone that gave them so much hope. Here was a person who spoke like no other! Here was a person who left the crowds “astonished” by what He said. Here was a person whose gestures were unforgettable! Here was a person whose gaze stirred the hearts of many and whose words comforted and healed the sick. It all seemed like a dream. It all seemed so final when he was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb. It seemed as though humanity was patronized by a false hope.
Then, one by one, they began to see Him again. Their incredulity would be overcome by certainty. Mary, through her tears, thought she was talking to the gardener. Then she recognized Him when he said, “Mary!” She became the first evangelist to share the good news, “He’s alive!” The two disciples, distraught and forlorn by dashed hopes on the road to Emmaus, were moved by this “companion” who joined them. They begged him, “Stay with us!” Then, while at table, in the breaking of the bread, they recognized Him! They sprinted back to share the good news, “He’s alive!” Peter, from his boat, saw a man on the shore cooking breakfast only to discover that it was the Risen Jesus! “He’s alive!” These events and many more experiences over the past 2000 years have assured believers today: “He’s alive!”
The searching of our hearts leads always to an answer that is found not in a some “thing” but a some “one”-- Jesus, our Savior, Risen from the dead! Like so many over the years, we too can say, “I know my Redeemer lives!”
“This Easter is the day the Lord has made! “He’s alive!”
Most Reverend Steven J. Raica
Bishop of Gaylord