My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,
Grace, Mercy and Peace of Christ Jesus our Risen Lord !
The Season of Easter fills us with joy, peace and hope. Apostle Paul in I Cor. 15 says, “Give thanks to God, (he) gives us the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord” (V.56). For the onward journey of the days ahead the way is peaceful, full of joy in the certitude that the Lord is living. We are called to walk ‘on a high plateau’, go far beyond the physical world into a spiritual intimacy with the risen Lord. After his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples and friends and revealed that he was no longer subject to the laws of ‘flesh’; ‘they knew it was the Lord” (Jn 21:12). They also know, they no longer can be with him as before. He said, “Do not cling to me” (Jn 20:17). The disciples kept looking at him and were full of joy.
The joy of risen Jesus flows from the love he shares with his heavenly Father. Joy always implies newness, renewal, change. It is a movement out of the place of death into the place of life which is ever new and delightful; it is a state of constant ecstasy in which we always experience the joy of being alive fully.
The joy of the disciples is enhanced by the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will guide them “into all the truth” (Jn 16:13) and they were to be “witnesses to these things” (Lk 24:48). Who is a witness? We must ask ourselves! Holy Father Pope Francis helps us to understand: “A witness is a person who has seen, who recalls, and [who] tells. See, recall, and tell: these are three words which describe the identity and mission. A witness is a person who has seen with an objective eye, has seen reality, but not with an indifferent eye; he has seen and has let himself become involved in the event.
For this reason, one recalls, not only because she knows how to reconstruct the events exactly, but also because those facts spoke to her, and she grasped their profound meaning. Then a witness tells, not in a cold and detached way, but as one who has allowed himself to be called into question and from that day changed the way of life. A witness is someone who has changed his or her life.
The content of Christian witness is not a theory; it's not an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralist theory-, but a message of salvation, a real event, rather, a Person: it is the risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all. He can be testified to by those who have personal experience of him, in prayer and in the Church, through a journey that has its foundation in baptism, its nourishment in the Eucharist, its seal in Confirmation, its continual conversion in penitence.
Thanks to this journey, ever guided by the word of God, every Christian can become a witness of the risen Jesus. And his or her witness is all the more credible, the more it shines through a life lived by the gospel: a joyful, courageous, gentle, peaceful, merciful life. Instead, if a Christian gives in to ease, vanity, selfishness, if he or she becomes deaf and blind to the question of "resurrection" of many brothers and sisters, how can he or she communicate the living Jesus; how can the Christian communicate the freeing power of the living Jesus and his infinite tenderness?
May Mary, our Mother, sustain us by her intercession, that we might become, with all our limitations but by the grace of faith, witnesses of the risen Lord, bringing the paschal gifts of joy and peace to the people we encounter.”