Bishop Coyne’s Easter message
“CHRIST IS ALIVE! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way He brings youth to our world. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and He wants you to be alive! He is in you, He is with you, and He never abandons you. However far you may wander, He is always there, the Risen One. He calls you, and He waits for you to return to Him and start over. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, He will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.”*
With these words, Pope Francis begins his address to the young people of the world of this truth of our faith, proclaimed in an extraordinary synod he had undertaken with a gathering of bishops. When asked, “How do we as a Church speak to today’s young people?” Pope Francis answers with the very first message found in the earliest preaching of the Church: in the words of St. Peter, “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32) and “God raised up His servant and sent Him to bless you” (Acts 3:26). “I have seen the Lord,” proclaims Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:18). Peter and Paul and all of the ancient saints continually preached the saving message that God raised Jesus from the dead and that all who believe in Him and follow Him will have eternal life. It is this same message that we still need to hear today, more than two thousand years later: Christ is alive!
Pope Francis’ words are addressed not just to young people, but to all of us. In a world that seems to darken under the shadow of evil a bit more each day, the truth of the resurrection gives us hope. In a society that increases in vulgarity, cynicism and intolerance, a country that becomes more angry, divided and individualistic each day, the fact of Christ’s resurrection gives us strength to counter those dark currents with purity of hearts, connected with others as our brothers and sisters.
Christ’s Church is both an earthly and heavenly reality by which He is still present to us today as the resurrected and glorified one.
“Jesus is risen, and He wants to make us sharers in the new life of the resurrection. He is the true youthfulness of a world grown old, the youthfulness of a universe waiting ‘in travail’ (Rom 8:22) to be clothed with His light and to live His life. With Him at our side, we can drink from the true wellspring that keeps alive all our dreams, our projects, our great ideals, while impelling us to proclaim what makes life truly worthwhile.”**