The Easter Season: ‘Christ is risen from the dead, Alleluia’

Bishop Raica releases episode no. 48 of Grace & Peace

On April 18, Bishop Raica recorded the 48th episode of his video series, Grace & Peace. The complete text of the bishop’s remarks follows herein.

My sisters and brothers, grace and peace to you. During this Easter Season, the 50 days of Easter are days of rejoicing. We are nearing the midway point of our Easter season, and much like the 40 days of Lent, in which we diligently and thoughtfully prepared for Easter, the 50 days of Easter are like basking in the sun, relishing an event that exceeds our expectations and the limitations of our minds.

Our Lord is not dead. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is risen. The tomb is empty and remains so even today. Consequently, there is a newness in the air. There's an extra lilt in our step going forward, and there's the belief that life is worth living because what awaits us in the afterlife is beyond our comprehension. Christ is waiting for us.

Every one of the disciples thought it was the end ehen the stone was rolled in front of the tomb - after Jesus had been taken down from the cross. Now we are reminded that the appearance of Christ - in the garden, on the seashore, in the locked Upper Room, and in various other places - is an ongoing signal that Christ is beyond time.

We can see the wounds in His hands and side, yet He is recognizable to those whose minds and hearts are open to wonder. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of leading a priest retreat in Florida, and in all honesty, it was one of the most amazing experiences. Every priest who participated was able to testify that the presence of Christ was among us in an astounding way.

We could sense the extraordinary presence as one priest after another gave his own personal witness story about the impact of Christ in his life and ministry. It drew us more closely to one another and gave us a reason to keep looking for Christ, only to discover Him already at our side.

The big takeaway for us is that Easter is more than just a day. It is a joyful season, reminding us that we are meant for another Who has loved us so much from the beginning. It is also a reminder that we are pilgrims passing through this life. With however much time the Lord gives us to take our rightful place in the next life with Him; with Mary and Joseph, our holy family; and with all the saints who preceded us.

Although we are in the world right now, we should live like we are destined for something better, something truly great, something that awaits us, something the Lord has in store for us. It fills us with joy and hope every single day. For me, every morning is a new day of resurrection. I look for Christ in every experience I have - the wonderful moments and even the distasteful ones. True to form, our Lord does not disappoint and leaves my heart burning with greater desire to remain with Him and with His people in the Church.

Finally, I am so grateful for the encouragement and witness of so many across our great diocese. I thank you for your prayers which sustain me and the many priests, religious, and lay, who serve in our dynamic mission throughout the Diocese of Birmingham. Your partnership with the mission of Christ through His Church and in your parish is an extraordinary way in which the mission of Christ can bear much fruit, and He does so today. Again, I remind you of this foundation - the acknowledgments and celebration of Christ's resurrection without which our parish and diocesan life would make no sense - we boldly affirm and proclaim with Christians all around the world, “Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia! He is risen indeed!” May God bless you.