Be Not Afraid

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Three of the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection morning describe the women at the scene — the first eyewitnesses to the Easter miracle — as fearful upon seeing the evidence of the Risen Lord.
Perhaps the roots of that reaction had its source in the remarkable story we will hear, pray over, and re-enact this Holy Week.
The women at the tomb that morning knew what had happened that week. There must have been a swirl of emotions, beginning with the triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and concluding with the agony in the Garden and the execution on the cross by Roman authorities. Jesus was left to die almost completely alone, as most of his followers fled out of fear, except for a small group of brave women and John.
That contagion of fear around Jerusalem those days must have been in the forefront of the women’s minds as they witnessed the evidence for the miraculous turn of events that we mark every Easter.
The Passion of Jesus resonates so deeply perhaps because, for many of us, that story of triumph, betrayal and suffering evokes images of our lives. The man confronted with news that he has incurable cancer; the mother who weeps for a child murdered by the criminal violence on our streets, the many families trying to keep a home together through the threat of unemployment, the immigrant who is unwelcome, all are living a kind of Passion as well.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel at the tomb told the women in Matthew’s Gospel. “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”
The angel tells the women: “Go quickly and tell his disciples.”
So must we as Christians, believers in the Easter miracle. We have inherited a treasure, the Risen Christ, and we are told not to keep it to ourselves, to share it with the rest of the world.
I pray that the processions, Stations of the Cross, Easter Sunday Mass and other observances will renew our faith. As we are blessed this year by an early Spring, filled with abundant natural growth, may we see that as a sign to reflect on the Risen Christ and His continued impact on our lives this Holy Week.
May we go forth unafraid in Easter faith and May God continue to bless you and guide you,
Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, D.D., J.C.D.
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