Living Unbound: An Easter Message from Bishop José
Living Unbound During Easter
“Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
On this glorious Easter day, I share with you in celebrating the grace of God’s Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus. As we raise our voices in jubilation and begin our journey through the Great Fifty Days of Easter, I invite you to join me in embracing Resurrection not merely as an event, but as the foundational way we live, move and have our being as followers of the Risen Christ.
Indeed, the gift of salvation is not bound to one day of the year, nor is it only the seven weeks after Easter Sunday. The generous gift of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection compels us to live in a new way each and every day.
In the last few weeks, we’ve heard Gospel stories that foreshadow the pascal mystery. From Nicodemus’ sojourn at night to meet with Jesus and wrestle with his faith, to Jesus healing a man blind from birth, to the Samaritan woman’s courageous conversation with Jesus and her subsequent conversion and proclamation, to the raising up of Lazarus from the dead…we have been confronted with the very thing that God offers to us through the resurrection: the gift of being seen, being known and being loved, just as we are – no exceptions – because that is what saves us from despair, it is what heals and sets us free from whatever binds us.
I often wonder how Nicodemus chose to live his life after his midnight conversation with Jesus and after he helped anoint Jesus’ body after Good Friday. I wonder how the blind man or the Samaritan woman chose to live their lives after their encounter with Jesus. I wonder how Lazarus chose to live his life after he was raised from the dead.
Did any of them live any differently? Did they breathe any deeper? What exactly did they do with the renewed chance to live?
And what is our response to the generous gift of Christ?
For me, it’s easy to hide those parts of myself that are embarrassing, hard or, painful – easy to hide the fullness of who I am, even from myself. But gift of new life – what is revealed through the Gospel stories of Lent is that even in the shadow of night, or the grave, or prejudice - God always sees us and loves us. For me, the journey of Lent and through Easter is a process of claiming my identity as a beloved child of God and finding belonging in the Kingdom of Heaven.
This Easter, as we live into the promise of and gift of resurrection, we are invited to name the everyday things that hold us back from being who we really are. We are invited to let go of grief, hatred, bitterness and fear and anything else that might cloud the vision of our true identity in Christ.
This Easter, we are invited to truly know and believe that God sees us, accepts us and loves us for exactly who we are.
My friends, join me in rejoicing in God’s generous gift of salvation, living each and every day unbounded by the fear and despair of death and walking in newness of life.
The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia!