May 2022 Four County Catholic
"Peace be with You"
My dear brothers and sisters in the risen Lord:
One of the greatest and most meaningful signs of Jesus’ Resurrection is His empty tomb. Tombs are meant for the dead; they are not places where the living reside. However, Jesus’ tomb is very different.
“On the first day of the week” (Mark 16:2) the women who go to the Lord’s tomb are struck with amazement when they find it empty. They were the first to hear the news that Jesus was alive. The white robed young man whom they encountered told them: “There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)
Yet the women were bewildered and afraid. (Mark 16:8) They are told to tell the good news to Peter and to Jesus’ disciples. When the women tell the Eleven and those gathered with them, the majority thought it was “pure nonsense.” (Luke 24:11) Despite the doubt expressed by the others, Peter and John went to see the empty tomb. (John 20:3) John writes that when he himself entered the tomb; “he saw and believed.” (John 20:8)
Our own experience of Easter this year is not so different from that first one. As we listen to the report of the empty tomb and hear that Jesus is alive, we can likewise experience the amazement and bewilderment of this great event. We recall that, in the midst of the grief that must have been overwhelming to the disciples of our Lord following his Passion and Death comes the news that He is alive; He has risen from the dead. Confronting His disciples’ fear and guilt, Jesus greets them with His Peace. Through the power of the Resurrection, Jesus does the same for us today as well. Filled with His Spirit, we are now called to carry on the Lord’s mission. We are empowered to bring His peace to the world.
Like on that first Easter, Jesus greets us with those powerful, life-giving words, “Peace be with you.” (John: 20:21) His peace calms fears, restores courage, and strengthens virtue. As Jesus reveals God to us, we must make Jesus real to others. In our words as well as our deeds we must show others that Jesus is alive in us.
My dear brothers and sisters, even in the midst of our own challenges, suffering and that of our world today, we are called to rejoice this Easter in the good news of the empty tomb and Jesus’ Resurrection. Like the women who went to the tomb in the early hours of that first Easter, we are tasked with sharing this good news with everyone. Each day, may we come to know the power of Jesus’ Resurrection, the power to live His Gospel and bring His peace into our world today.
Please be assured of my prayerful closeness to you all; may you and your loved ones have a truly blessed and grace-filled Easter!
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich