They found the stone rolled back from the tomb — Luke 24:2
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With these words, the first hint of an extraordinary event unfolded that would forever change the world. The women who went dutifully to anoint Jesus’ body with spices became the first heralds of a way of life that would never be the same.
In these anxious days of pandemic, we may feel entombed in our homes, fearful that life will never be the same. My Easter message to you is one of hope! We hope for the days when the stones of our house-tombs will be rolled open. We long for better times, that the human interactions of life which we have taken for granted will return. We long to return to work and school and the security that normalcy brings. We live in trepidation of an invisible sickness that strikes quickly and without discrimination of age, social standing, or net worth. We seem to live in a physical tomb of social distancing and a psychological tomb of fear and complete uncertainty.
In the midst of such malaise, Easter Sunday of the Resurrection dawns just the same with all its hope, and with promise of Eternal Life. We will need to work harder this year to experience this joy, since we cannot come together as a Family of Faith to celebrate. Nonetheless, we can rejoice that the spiritual tomb of sin and death is truly rolled back, never to be closed on us again! Jesus has power over death, sin, pandemic, illness, fear, and uncertainty.
The pious women, who were also frightened by unexplainable events, call us to run with them, to grow in confidence and hope, just as they began to believe the mystery of the stone rolled away. The Resurrection stands between us and despair. Jesus stands between us and death.
As we continue with the rigors and sacrifices that these days demand of us, I invite you to stay focused on the rolled-back stone, on the empty tomb. For in these images rest our hope in these days. Jesus is risen; He is truly risen! We are the grateful recipients and heralds of such an overwhelmingly hopeful message in a world that desperately needs it.
Asking Our Risen Savior to bless you and your families, especially those who are ill and their caregivers, with good health and renewed spirit, I am
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Alfred A. Schlert
Bishop of Allentown