Earlier this month, we held our Jubilee Year Camino. It was beautiful to see so many of you and your families.
In all, about 2,000 of us made the 11-mile procession through the streets from Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the place where the Faith was “born” in Los Angeles 250 years ago, to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the mother church of the family of God today.
It was a spiritual pilgrimage and an inspiring civic event. I am grateful for the men and women of law enforcement who helped with traffic control along the way and the many volunteers at the parishes we stopped at along the way.
What a joy to see people so happy. Many were praying the whole way, saying the rosary, singing; you could hear random shouts of “!Viva Cristo Rey!” As we made our way through the neighborhoods, people came out of their houses or spoke to us from their windows, excited to tell us how much they loved Jesus. I was moved to see so many young children watching with wide eyes as our procession went by.
We began our day with Mass at the mission and ended with a prayer service at the cathedral. It was great to see the cathedral filled again. There are some fine photos and videos from the day on our website, so I hope you will take a look.
All day as I was praying, I kept thinking what an amazing sign that the Church is alive in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles!
A week or so later, on Monday of Holy Week, we celebrated the annual Chrism Mass, the solemn celebration in which every parish brings its oils to the bishop for blessing and consecration — the oils of catechumens, the oil of the sick, the sacred chrism — and in which every priest renews publicly the promises he made at his ordination.
The Chrism Mass is an expression of the Church as the family of God and the kingdom of God — bishops, priests, and deacons, religious and consecrated men and women, seminarians, the lay faithful.
And again, as I was praying and looking out over the cathedral pews filled with joyful and faithful people from every corner of the archdiocese, I thought: the Church is alive in Los Angeles!
The Church is alive because Jesus Christ is alive. That is the great meaning of Easter.
This Jesus, who we accompany in Holy Week through the final days of his earthly life; this Jesus, who we witness on Good Friday, being beaten and nailed to a cross, where we watch him die; this Jesus, is alive!
This is the truth that we need to rediscover every Easter.
Jesus Christ is alive! And because he is alive, we will not die, we can rise with him! This is my Easter prayer: that we will arise from the struggles and miseries of this world and unite our lives with the risen Lord!
When we reflect on our times, which are so disturbed with war and divisions, we know that there is only one way to find peace in our families, in our society, in our world, and that is through our faith in Jesus Christ, our personal commitment to follow his teaching and example.
Jesus has risen, and he walks with us. We should never forget that.
Jesus goes with us in all our hopes and in all the struggles of our daily lives, in all the little ways that we are striving for holiness, trying to do our best, giving glory to God, and loving our neighbors.
We need to rise with Jesus and realize how important our lives are. Jesus is counting on us now to continue his work on earth.
This Easter, let us renew our desire to serve Jesus in our lives, with joy and confidence.
Let us live our faith, right where we are! Live and love like Jesus in our jobs, in our homes, at school, in our ministries, in everything we do.
Let us try to make everything we do something that is beautiful and pleasing to him, always looking for ways to help others get to know him and to love him and to feel his love for them.
If we try to love him and serve him in everything we do, we will find joy and peace. Our lives will become a shining path that leads others to Jesus, and that leads you to heaven.
Pray for me this Easter, and I will pray for you. I wish you joy with your families.
And may our Blessed Mother Mary go with us, as we walk with Jesus who is alive. May she help us to rise with him, and go tell the world of his love.