I hope that you and your loved ones and families had a blessed Easter. I shared Easter here with my family and it was a beautiful time.
It was so good to see so many of you at our triduum celebrations at the cathedral, at the Way of the Cross on Good Friday and at the Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street.
This was a special Easter here in Los Angeles and in the universal Church. First, it is the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.
But also this year, Good Friday fell on March 25, which is the Feast of the Annunciation. This is something rare — it won’t happen again until the middle of the next century.
Of course, the Annunciation is the day when Jesus became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. And Good Friday, of course, is the day when Jesus suffered and offered himself up in the Spirit to God our Father — for our sins and for our salvation.
And I was reflecting that the coincidence of these great moments in salvation history falling on the same day gives us a special insight into God’s plan for the world and his plan for lives.
It reminds us that in God’s plan, all of creation — from the beginning — was oriented to the “new creation” that begins with the Incarnation of Jesus and is accomplished in his death on the cross and his Resurrection. From the first day of creation, everything was building and moving toward that first Easter morning.
In her great song, the “Magnificat,” the Virgin Mary told us that the God’s mercy is from age to age. And this year it really struck me — that history is the story of God’s love and mercy, shown over and over again down through the generations.
All of us are born and live from the gift of God’s mercy in our own experiences. In his mercy, he gives us life. And in his mercy, he forgives our sins and gives us new life through the death and Resurrection of Jesus.
My prayer for us during this Easter season of joy is that we will all rediscover the gift and the miracle of God’s mercy in our lives.
Let’s really try to make a new beginning — to embrace once again the new life that God has given us through Jesus. Let’s open our hearts to God’s mercy and let the light of Christ shine into every corner of our lives.
God wants the miracle of Easter — the miracle and mystery of his mercy — to continue in your life and in mine.
As I’m sure you noticed during our Easter celebrations, the first ones to experience the Resurrection were women, Mary Magdalene and her companions. These women found the stone rolled away from the tomb of Jesus — and spoke to the angel who was there. Then in their amazement, they ran out and told people what had happened.
These women became the first evangelists, the first witnesses to the Resurrection! They became missionaries, missionary disciples.
Like those holy women who discovered the empty tomb, like the first Apostles — we are called in our own time to be witnesses to his Resurrection. Witnesses to the power of his mercy in our lives.
Let’s reach out to people who feel forgotten in our society; people who feel excluded and lonely and poor. Let us show everyone the compassion and mercy that God has shown to us.
We walk in this world now — as a people who know that God is alive. We walk in this world as a people who know that Jesus loves us and that he has given his life for us. And now Jesus is living right at our side, walking with us in everything we do.
So in these beautiful days after Easter, let us pray for one another. And let us ask Jesus to give us the grace and the power to live like he lived. Let us ask him to enlighten so that we can see the world with his eyes. Let us ask him to strengthen us so that we can love as he loved.
Also during this blessed time, let’s continue to pray for all those who are being persecuted for their faith and let us pray for the souls and the families of the victims in last week’s terror attacks in Belgium and in Pakistan, especially.
May our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of Mercy, help us to create a world where all the wounds of division are healed and all God’s children can live in peace.