Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Holy Week finds the Church once more with the Lord – entering Jerusalem, in the Upper Room, at Gethsemane, along the Way of the Cross, at Calvary and, very early in the morning, at the empty tomb.
We are invited these days to make the Lord’s journey our own, to be with Him and the disciples all along His way. Looking to them, upon whom Jesus established the Church, we see in the Twelve a ragtag group who would not be too different from us. As close as they were to Jesus, the disciples did not understand what was happening or the import of those events.
As He washed their feet and shared with them the bread and wine that was His Body and Blood, they could not yet grasp the work that God was accomplishing in their midst. As they fled from his side, fearful of those who had arrested and tortured the Lord, little did they understand. The Cross seemed to them to be the ultimate defeat of the One they had hoped was the Messiah.
Even in sight of the empty tomb and His appearance in the garden, the Upper Room and along the road to Emmaus, the disciples were, as Jesus declared, “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe.” Yet these were the very same architects of the faith that has been handed down to us from generation to generation.
They came to believe and to understand not only the events that occurred, but also the Lord’s words. And we are recipients of that same faith and the Christian life that continues to be inspired by the mystery of the Resurrection. We know that Christ died and that He rose from the dead, never more to die.
The Lord Jesus invites us this Holy Week to enter into the mystery of His Dying and Rising, as taught by Saint Paul to Timothy: “This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him (2 Timothy 2:11).
Easter for us, then, is filled with a hope that cannot be diminished, no matter the injustices that many still experience, the lack of love, compassion and mercy in our world, still manifested in poverty, violence, war, terrorism and even the death of the innocent. Yet in the face of all of the tragedies that beset humanity in this Twenty-First Century and all of the personal defeats that we have experienced, we know, by our faith, that Christ has vanquished sin and death and shares with us newness of life.
My prayer for you this week is that each of us may be the radiant face of Christ, for He has promised that he will always be with us, to give us hope and to call each of us to rise with Him.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose