Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
After the death of Jesus on the cross, his friends and followers got dispersed. They were sad and in anguish at their loss. They were dejected and downhearted. They were fearful and went into hiding. But then, from this situation of anguish, despondency and fear, a “reversal” took place, marked by deep fervor and enthusiasm for a “new beginning.”
The main reason for this “reversal” and “enthusiasm” was a series of experiences that were totally unexpected: these men and women encountered Jesus anew; they encountered the risen Lord; and they proclaimed his resurrection from the dead (cf. Mt 28, Mk 16, Lk 24, Jn 20-21). It was this encounter with the risen Lord that turned fear to courage, sadness to joy, and despondency to hope. The situation marked by death was transformed into one that bears life.
For the past few months, I have been visiting parishes in our beloved diocese. I have had the opportunity and the privilege to meet our priests and religious, our parishioners, our parish workers and volunteers. I have had the chance to listen to people and to see the condition of our parishes. From the various discussions and dialogue, there emerged some areas of concern. Let me just cite three: the youth, the clergy, and formation.
In these areas of concern, I think we can find the invitation to encounter Jesus Christ anew. We see in our youth the need for an experience of the Lord – one that will help them grow in their relationship with Him. We see our clergy being called to accompany the faithful more and more, and to encounter the Lord precisely in ministering to people. We see in our diocese the need for formation – at all levels – that would bring about a renewed encounter with the Lord. As the Easter story reminds us, it is this encounter with Jesus Christ that can truly transform us – as individuals and as an ecclesial community.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the Easter celebration be an occasion for a renewed encounter with the risen Lord, who brings us peace, joy and life. God bless you all!
+Ryan P. Jimenez, D.D.
Bishop of Chalan Kanoa