Bishop Mark’s Easter Message

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I recently read a story shared by Jacqueline Dooley. It’s one of those stories that is found by accident when you click on an internet link. The story is about Jacqueline’s daughter Ana, who was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer called inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, which is sometimes referred to as IMT.

Jacqueline sadly describes how she observed simple things that her daughter did during her short lifetime. Her description is sad because at the end of the story, Jacqueline reveals that she did not take pictures or save some of the simple toys that her daughter played with.

Jacqueline ends with this observation: “As I approach the seventh anniversary of losing Ana, I don’t need or want to keep retelling the story of her death. I want to remember her life and the unique things that made Ana, well… Ana.”

In the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, we read lots of “little stories.” One of my favorite stories, is often the Gospel reading (Jn 12:20-33) on the Sunday before Palm Sunday. John recounts the following incident: Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

That Gospel passage is followed by Jesus describing in his own words how he was about to be glorified. John tells us that it would come about by the kind of death he would die. He quotes Jesus saying to all of us: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.”

The punchline comes next, when Jesus says: “The Father will honor whoever serves me.” The highest honor for each one of us is to be united with Christ. We do that by serving him, especially in serving others who need our help, like Jacqueline who finally realized that we may never forget the tragedy of death. But what is most important are things that remind us of life.

Easter is the celebration of the life of Christ, which is all about eternal life. The liturgy of the Church on Easter and throughout the year reminds us to continue to proclaim the great mystery of faith: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again! Today and throughout the Easter season share that Good News with everyone.

Bishop + Mark