“What a joy it is for me to announce the message ‘Jesus Christ is risen”!
So began Pope Francis’ homily on Easter Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. In Matthew’s Gospel today, the women were the first to see the empty tomb and as they ran away to tell the others, Jesus appeared to them – “Do not be afraid,” he said.
We can encounter Jesus just as the two Marys did in today’s Gospel. We see Him in the Eucharist, we hear Him in the Word, and we see Him in the people we meet every day. Like the women, however, we have to be open to seeing and hearing Him.
The Easter message is “Christ is Risen,” but sometimes that is a message hard to hear when we are overwhelmed by daily problems – a sick parent or child, the loss of a job, our own illness or infirmity, the daily headlines of war, violence and poverty. In his Easter Vigil message, Pope Francis said that “Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness, and in bitterness…Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend with trust. He is life.”
As we begin this Easter season, let us focus on the Resurrection, not on the tomb. Not on our worries, but on Jesus Christ as the source and promise of new life for each of us. As Jesus told the women, “Do not be afraid” – He will be with us always.