Dear Parish Family,
"Peace be with you!” This was the initial greeting of our Lord as he appeared to his disciples after his Resurrection. At this time, the apostles were filled with fear, weak and discouraged. Their Master had been arrested, crucified, and now his body was missing from the tomb. It's easy to imagine how their fear and doubts took over instead of holding on to His promise that he would rise again. Jesus could have questioned their trust and loyalty, yet he did not mention it; instead, he wished them peace. He knew what their hearts were experiencing, and what they needed was peace. Not just any peace but the peace that only He can provide. His peace which calms any storm. It helps us face troubling circumstances without being swallowed by anxiety, anger, or fear. It brings a quiet confidence to our hearts that guides us as we face challenging decisions. It allows us to accept God’s boundless love, which makes us say, “I belong to Christ, and I know he will never abandon me! I am loved, and I am forgiven.”
Jesus said to them once again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” His gift of peace is not just for us alone; it is meant to be spilled over to our relationships with each other. Jesus is sending us out, asking us to treat each other with the same mercy and love that he has shown us. Loving each other and forgiving each other is perhaps the most challenging aspect of our lives as Christians. We know how difficult it can be to forgive someone who has hurt us, to love without conditions. The only way we can overcome this is to “let the peace of Christ” reign in our hearts. Remember, we don’t do this alone; we have also been given his Spirit. “He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’” Filled with God’s Spirit, just like the apostles, we are empowered to go out to the world, sharing God’s love, peace, and forgiveness.
I pray that you are free from weakness, falsehood, bitterness, addiction, anger, selfishness and hypocrisy. I pray that your Lenten sacrifices might lead to authentic Easter joy!
Happy and Holy Easter to you all!