Dear People and Friends of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,
Please allow me to convey to you and your families my blessing and good wishes in this holy season when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, the first-born, who has primacy over everything (Col. 1:18). Easter is a feast of truly universal proportions. For “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).
The victory of Jesus thus brings an unshakable confidence to his people. The theme is one of inexpressible joy. “The joy of the Gospel is such that it cannot be taken away from us by anyone or anything” (cf., Jn. 16:22),” Pope Francis writes in Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, 84). This is what brings energy to the Church’s mission. The more we open ourselves up to this work, the more we will be transformed by the joy of the Gospel. Pope Francis invites us to leave behind the “tomb psychology” that would turn us into “mummies in a museum.” “Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization!” (83).
Pope Francis’ exhortation certainly makes for bracing reading, perhaps like the way a doctor uses electricity to get a patient’s heart beating again. “Christ’s resurrection is not an event in the past … when all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force … such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power” (276).
All who evangelize. It seems that the Holy Father has given us our marching orders. May the Risen Christ fill us with hope, joy, confidence, and patience, so that we may share in the fullness of his life and make fruitful the ground he has given us to garden.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson