March 29, 2024

An Easter Message from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

(En Espanol)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Archbishop Charles C. ThompsonEaster greetings in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ! Easter arrives early this year, being celebrated on the last day of March.

While Easter can never arrive too early—especially for children looking forward to Easter egg hunts and baskets of candy—it is good to be reminded that the season of Lent began this year with Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day. While Ash Wednesday may have caused a wrinkle in some plans to celebrate romantic love, it marked the Christian understanding of God’s sacrificial love for us.

In his Lenten Message, released just before Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis focused on the theme, “Through the desert, God leads us to freedom.” He likened the Lenten journey to that of the Israelites being led out of slavery in Egypt through the desert to the promised land.

Our journey has been one of being led out of the slavery to sin. While few, if any, come through the experience perfected, we are hopefully better for any progress we have made through the disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as well as any graces drawn from the various penitential practices and sacramental celebrations we embraced along the way.

Through His passion, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ frees us from slavery to sin. Having endured the desert-like journey of Lent, culminating in the Sacred Triduum, we rejoice in the glory of salvation and redemption as revealed in the empty tomb and encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

We certainly have not been made perfect. Neither the world nor the Church has been made perfect, as both are made up of sinful human beings. There are many concerns and problems that need to be addressed—such as the various forms of violence, polarization, injustice, addictions, abuse, loneliness, depression, disease, wars, persecution and gross disregard for creation—to name a few.

The sacrificial love of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection did not alleviate sin and death, but provided the transforming grace for facing and overcoming the challenges of evil.

With faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, relying on the transformative grace of the cross and empty tomb, we have cause to rejoice. For this reason, we will spend the next 50 days, leading up to the Solemnity of Pentecost, to celebrate the joy of Easter.

Whatever our desert experiences or struggles with slavery to sin, we have a Savior who has won victory over sin and death for all who follow his example of surrendering to the will of the Father, who embrace the cross, and who believe in all that awaits us beyond the empty tomb. Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Blessings in Christ!

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

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