My dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord,
On that first Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of Jesus brought the promise that love and life last forever. It was such a valuable experience that it meant different things to different people.
Chosen disciples like Peter and John found renewed faith and joy (John 21). A reformed sinner like Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) discovered new hope. To the repentant thief (Luke 23:42-43), it had life-giving import while, to the doubting Thomas (John 20:25), it posed a new challenge.
Later, the Risen Christ turned the stony heart of Saul of Tarsus into the zealous apostle Paul (Acts 9; 13:9). With Cleopas and the other disciple on the road to Emmaus, the early Christians found Jesus in “the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35). Down through the ages, this same Risen Lord transformed the lives of sinners into saints. And He stands ready to transform our lives as well!
Unfortunately, however, we often permit ourselves to be crippled by our fears and doubts. We allow our burdens of the past and present, whether real or imagined, to weigh us down until they become unbearable. We fail to remember that others have journeyed to God before us and have been plagued by the same vulnerabilities and weaknesses. We forget what the Risen Lord said to St. Paul: "My grace suffices, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians 12:9)
As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, may we again be comforted and challenged by His gifts of love and peace. May we become less self-focused and more like Jesus, reaching out to those with greater needs than ours and offering them God's promise of the fullness of life as well.
During this Year of Faith, I pray that the joy of Easter and its opportunity for new beginnings may banish all fear and anxiety from your hearts.
May the peace of the Risen Christ with His promise that love and life are eternal be with you today and always.
Sincerely in the Risen Lord,
+ Paul Gregory Bootkoski, D.D.
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