Open yourself to Christ each day
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As the 50 days of Easter unfold we will hear the Scriptural accounts of various encounters with the Risen Christ: the women at the tomb, the disciples in the upper room or on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, the pair on the road to Emmaus and those gathered at the Ascension. These encounters were life-changing and challenging to be sure, but they also filled those who met the Risen Christ with a deep joy.
In Evangelium Gaudii — the Joy of the Gospel — Pope Francis reminds us that we are invited to such an encounter every day. But, he laments, too often we have hardened our hearts; we are distracted by “frivolous pleasure” and greed; we have become complacent.
This Eastertime, I want to make Pope Francis’ encouragement to continually open ourselves to Christ more and more each day my own. Imagine not only how we might be transformed as individuals, but what joy might fill our whole diocese if we all took Christ’s invitation to heart!
We need to remember this joy is not some superficial happiness pretending that sorrow and suffering aren’t real. Far from it! This is the joy that waits in hope, that knows Easter follows every Lent, that knows we are infinitely loved. But it is a dangerous love, a love that changes us and sends us out on mission. This joy is not intended solely for our own benefit!
Like the women at the tomb, we are sent to announce the Resurrection.
Like the disciples in the upper room, we are challenged to faith and to forgiveness.
Like the two on the road to Emmaus, we are sent from the Table back into the world, with our hearts aflame.
Like Peter on the seashore, we are asked to feed Christ’s lambs and tend his sheep, to put out the net for a great harvest.
Like those gathered in Galilee at the end of forty days, we too are commissioned to go and
make disciples of all nations; to proclaim the Gospel to every creature; to preach the good news of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Yes, such is our calling and such is our joy. Easy? No. But such a life is deeply enriching, fulfilling; it is who we are as the baptized; it is our identity that we renewed at the Easter font.
Through all of us, in the words of Pope Paul VI, cited by Pope Francis: “…may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80).
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport
Full Letter with English/Spanish