Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On the First Sunday of Lent, the Book of Genesis recounted how Adam and Eve turned away from God and lost paradise. On the intervening Sundays between then and now, we heard the stories of the promise made by God to Abraham that he would be the Father of a nation, of Moses leading the Israelites through the desert as they went from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land and of Samuel anointing David as God’s chosen one. These stories pointed to how God, after the fall of Adam and Eve, did not give up on us, but prepared for when, in the fullness of time, the Son of Man would take on our flesh and, in an act of perfect love and obedience, offer himself on the cross and rise from death to new life. In the words of Pope Francis: “Christ, my hope, is risen!’ And in Him we too are resurrected, passing from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love” (April 22, 2019). The new life of Christ, now offered to us, is the reason of our Easter joy.
As we gather in churches throughout our diocese on Easter Sunday, special praise, prior to the Gospel, will be given to the Paschal Lamb—the Risen Christ who offered Himself on the cross. The words of this eleventh-century Easter sequence include the following:
Christ, my hope, has risen:
He goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen
from the dead we know.
Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
May we celebrate “that Christ is truly risen.” And may we be ever strengthened in following Christ not so much “into Galilee” but into the new life of the risen Christ that is given to us through our Baptism into the death and resurrection of our Lord. Let us join St. Paul in proclaiming, as he proclaimed to the Galatians: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
Happy and Blessed Easter. Christ, our hope, has risen! Amen. Alleluia.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Rev. William E. Koenig, D.D.
Bishop of Wilmington