“Mercy and Love have conquered sin! We need faith and hope in order to open ourselves to this new and marvelous horizon. And we know that faith and hope are gifts from God, and we need to ask for them: ‘Lord, grant me faith, grant me hope! I need them so much!’ The silent witness to the events of Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection was Mary. She stood beside the Cross: she did not fold in the face of pain; her faith made her strong. In the broken heart of the Mother, the flame of hope was kept ever burning. Let us ask her to help us too to fully accept the Easter proclamation of the Resurrection, so as to embody it in the concreteness of our daily lives.”—Pope Francis
The Gospels of Easter week unfold the mystery of the resurrection through those who were its first witnesses. In their words and in their actions we have a model for our own lives. The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, shows us how Peter and the others were inspired to speak out in ways that they never dreamed of before the resurrection. And Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that from the beginning, there was opposition from those who felt threatened by this new movement of the Spirit. Our day is not much different. Sometimes our faith moves us outward with great joy and fervent hope. But sometimes we need to go within, to renew our strength and our courage in quiet times of prayer. Depending on the circumstances of our lives this year, we might not be feeling the exuberant joy we expect in this season of Easter. Illness, death, unemployment, depression, and other human realities don’t necessarily happen according to the liturgical year. But in a time when it seems the only constant is change, our faith—and even more, our hope—reminds us that God’s love will always be there for us.
The beauty of the liturgical seasons is that they offer us a new chance each year to experience the richness of God’s work of salvation in our lives. Each year we grow a bit more in our faith. Each year the events in our lives offer us new insight into what the resurrection means for us and our loved ones. What one thing is different about your life this Easter?
— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis,
by Diane M. Houdek