My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Each year Christians throughout the world remember the great mysteries of our salvation throughout this week: Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the institution of the Eucharist, ministerial Priesthood, and the new command of loving service on Holy Thursday, the Father’s mercy revealed in Christ who is crucified on Good Friday, and the faith and belief in His resurrection. The message of Easter – of the resurrection of Jesus – takes us beyond the Cross to the joy and hope that comes from knowing the Risen Lord. It was Christ risen that allowed his disciples to fully know that God exists, that there is a future of hope for every human being and that our cry for unending life is indeed answered in Him. This is the real message of Easter!
The Way of the Cross through the streets of Calgary brings to life the passion of Jesus. The carrying of the cross brings the experience of the disabled, the unemployed and working poor, homeless, migrants and refugees, victims of war, the unborn and the elderly into the light of Christ’s sacrificial love. It is this sacrificial love that restores dignity for those who have been exiled from their homes, transforming strangers into neighbours, and calling us to respond with compassion and care to those who are suffering and vulnerable. The empty tomb becomes the true sign of the Easter faith which caused the disciples not to proclaim the tragedy of Jesus’ death but rather the sharing of his resurrection, the promise of eternal life with joy and confidence through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord appeared to His Disciples after His Resurrection, and greeted them, saying: “Peace be to you.” Many times in Sacred Scripture, Our Blessed Lord offers his peace. And so it is in the lives of each of us, and will be until the end of time, Our Lord Jesus stands in our midst and says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Easter calls us to promote with renewed zeal the witness of our faith by the living testimony of our lives. To seek this peace through respectful and joyful hearts. It calls us to move beyond the tomb of human emptiness with conviction by sharing the good news of the Resurrection. To courageously follow Jesus Christ, the risen one, and to boldly proclaim that out of darkness and suffering comes the promise of new life. This Easter, let us rise up with Christ to meet the world and our culture with a renewed conviction to authentically live our faith in serving our brothers and sisters in ways that will bring them hope and joy.
I wish all of you a Blessed Holy Week and Easter season, praying that God’s grace through his resurrection will always be the source of our hope and joy.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
☩ Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of Calgary