Happy Easter! He is Risen!
Apart from wishing each other Happy Easter, what is our response? What does it mean to us that He is Risen?
The term “Easter Duty” historically referred to the obligation of Catholics to take part in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist at least once during the Easter season. Today’s first Mass reading from Acts teaches a different understanding of our Easter Duty.
Peter proclaims that God granted that Jesus “be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance. …He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.”
Jesus did not put in a few post-Resurrection appearances just to make his friends feel good. Rather, he appeared to make them witnesses to his victory over death. He commissioned them to preach the Gospel, to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the lord of both the living and the dead.
In its fullest sense, our Easter Duty is the same as the duty placed upon those to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection – to be witnesses, to testify to the truth of who Jesus is. In Christifideles Laici, Pope John Paul II wrote: “The entire mission of the Church, then, is concentrated and manifested in evangelization. Through the winding passages of history the Church has made her way under the grace and the command of Jesus Christ: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.’”
Our Easter Duty is to go out into the world to share the message of Jesus Christ, to proclaim the Good News. How? By all that we say and do to mirror Christ, by being Christ to others and showing the face of Christ to a world that so desperately needs Him. In words attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel. And, if necessary, use words.”