Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Bishops, on the big feasts of the liturgical year, send out a pastoral letter. Below is a summary of the bishop of Inchon's letter commemorating the feast of Easter.
Mark, in 10:33-34, announced Jesus' resurrection: "They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit at him, flog him and finally kill him. But three days later he will rise."

As he said, he rose from the dead. "I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die" (John 11:26).

We are all going to die. In Sirach 40:2, "What is on their mind, what they fear in their heart, is the day of their death." We will all be leaving this earth but there is no need to worry for our bodies, St. Paul says, will change into spiritual bodies (I Cor.15:44). In 1 Peter 1:3-4 we hear: "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us new birth, a birth unto  hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...."  That is not all; St. Paul makes clear: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised our preaching is void of content, and your faith is empty too." (1Cor. 15:13-14)

We will also, like Jesus, be raised from the dead. This is our hope, our happiness. It is the center of our faith life and the reason for our gratitude.  We do not only have hope for the present and for doing our best for the goods of this world.

We are not only to keep this happiness for ourselves but to spread it to others. We are to be witnesses to this life of happiness and hope in the future. There are many who do not have this hope, and we strive to make it known. The gap between the rich and poor is getting larger. When we forget the poor and those suffering and go ahead enjoying our own happiness, the Gospel is not being preached. We need also an open heart to those hurting.

The degree to which we believe in the resurrected life is the index of our faith life. Quoting from St. Paul: "I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection, and also to know how to share in his suffering by being formed into the pattern of his death. Thus do I hope to arrive at the resurrection from the dead."
(Phil  3:10-11).

The bishop reminds us that the goal for the diocese in this year's pastoral message was to reach the 500,000 mark for  Catholics, and asks us to remember this and pray and work to achieve the  goal, remembering that Jesus is the  way, the truth, and the life.

In conclusion, he prays for God's blessings--especially on the sick, those in hospitals and those with financial problems--that all  will gather strength and courage from the resurrected Christ in whom we believe, and prays for God's blessing on all of us this Easter.

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