Message for Easter 2024 by Bishop William T. McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The celebration of Easter is the time when we as Christians renew our baptismal promises. It is through the life-giving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are united with Him. Easter takes us beyond the Cross of sorrow and disappointment to the joy and hope that comes from knowing the Risen Lord. This experience of Christ transformed the disciples. They came to know that His love is for every human person and that the fullness of eternal life is found in Him alone. This is the promise and hope that Easter brings into our lives!

The Risen Lord greeted his disciples, saying: “Peace be to you.” In our current world, we must know in faith that the 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). This must be our heartfelt petition this Easter for many of our brothers and sisters who are experiencing the ongoing tragedy of war and violence.

Easter can also be a time to reflect on our lives of faith and to express the love that our Lord offers to those who live in the shadow of the Cross. It is a love that restores dignity to those who have been exiled from their homes, transforming strangers into neighbours, and calling us to respond with justice, compassion, and care to those who are suffering and who are vulnerable due to the circumstances of their lives. That Easter faith, which allowed the disciples to see not only the tragedy of Jesus death, but also his resurrection, became for them the experience of forgiveness and reconciliation and the beginning of their new life in the risen Christ.

Easter calls us to promote with renewed zeal the witness of our faith by the living testimony of our lives. It calls us to move beyond the tomb of human emptiness by sharing with conviction the good news of the Resurrection. We courageously follow Jesus Christ, the Risen One, and we boldly proclaim that out of the darkness of 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 live our faith authentically in serving our brothers and sisters in ways that will bring them hope and joy in Christ.

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