Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all!

I hope that my message may encourage us all to live in the Easter joy that is offered to us today and throughout the season. May we rejoice in the good news of the Resurrection!

One of the characteristics of the earliest Christians that is quite striking is their joy of life. From the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter and the other disciples interact with a variety of peoples at Pentecost, the comment they receive is that “they have drunk too much wine.” They say that not because the Apostles were stumbling around or slurring their words, but because there was a lightness of spirit and frivolity displayed in them that mirrored those that have had a good time at a party. What are the disciples of Christ, who are still in danger of being arrested and killed, so happy about?

It’s the Resurrection. They’ve seen the Risen Lord. They’ve come to encounter the victory over sin and death. They know that there’s a new freedom to the life they have here on Earth, now that access to heaven is possible. St. Paul can say to other Christians, “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (1Thess 4:13) Everything has changed for us as Christians in light of the Resurrection.

Those earliest followers of Christ did not have an easy go of things. All of the Apostles were martyred for their efforts to spread the Good News, except St. John, although not for like of trying with him. The Early Church, for the first several centuries struggled as a persecuted, illegal religion that both the Roman Empire and even Jewish authorities sought to eliminate. At a practical, day to day level of things, the path of Christianity was not all sunshine and rainbows. And yet, there is this persistent, almost irrepressible joy within the individual Christian and the overall community. And again, it’s the Resurrection.

This Lent, I’ve been focused in my prayer and in my thoughts on the Cross. I’ve felt it particularly hard this year and I know that much of my preaching has been stressing the reality of the Cross in the Christian experience. I know that there are stressful and distressing things that I’m dealing with right now. But I also recognize that like the early Christians, I’m invited here and now to experience and live in the joy of Easter, in the power of the Resurrection. And I want to encourage us all to see that reality for ourselves. No matter where we might be, the power of the Resurrection has the ability to bring us freedom and joy. We may be dealing with some heavy things right now, but the Resurrection is more powerful still. And I hope knowing that, will bring you joy.

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan