My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“For our sake Christ was obedient, accepting even death, death on a cross. Therefore God raised him on high and gave him the name above all other names.” (Responsory from the Liturgy of the Hours)
At this most holy time of the year for those of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ, we celebrate the central mystery of our salvation. We call this the “Paschal Mystery,” i.e. the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of our blessed Lord.
We speak much in our time of the “New Evangelization.” In doing so we propose to announce to the world in a new and fresh way the Gospel, i.e. the “Good News.” But what is the “Good News”? What is the Gospel we preach?
It is simply and yet profoundly our redemption through the Blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross, and through his glorious Resurrection from the dead. Through this mystery of Jesus Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our sins, death is destroyed, and the way to eternal life is opened up for us.
We must never lose sight of the fact that this is what our faith is all about. Whatever else the Church does, whatever good works of mercy and justice she performs, and whatever apostolates she might be engaged in, it is ultimately about being saved in Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I extend to all of you, your families and your loved ones a most Blessed and Glorious Easter! Christ is Risen from the dead! By death he conquered death, and to us he has granted life!
Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,
Most Reverend Alexander Sample
Archbishop of Portland