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ICTHUS Song

Easter Message 2015 of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas

Easter is the greatest and most important feast of our faith. If Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is irrelevant and meaningless, dry and dead.

Easter beckons us to go beyond the customary greetings and feasting. We must continue the mission of the risen Christ by being ready to bring His message to more people.

Be like the risen Jesus. Look at the risen Jesus. Love the risen Jesus. Follow the risen Jesus.

What is it in Jesus that we must carry with you through life? It is His JOY.

We all yearn for joy. We work for joy.  Yet, in its quest we have often failed to find it.  We are bundles of shattered dreams; or we are showcases of fulfilled dreams, which leave us empty.  We have worked hard, but are frustrated; we have struggled, but feel the weight of disappointment.  We are victims of calamities, natural or man-made, or victims of our own coldness in the face of overwhelming suffering.

Remember Yolanda. Remember Mamasapano. Remember the frustrating unsolved problem of government corruption.  Remember the loneliness of our loved ones toiling abroad. Our memory is full of broken hopes and dreams. The litany of frustrations is endless. But we have hope.

Our calling is to return to the joy that comes from the Gospel and from sharing the Gospel.  That is a joy that comes neither from a covetous heart nor from the frivolous pursuit of pleasures, nor from a blunted conscience.  It comes rather first and foremost from a renewed personal encounter with the risen Jesus Christ.  That is the goal of Christianity—encounter with Jesus Christ in joy.

This joy can be real and deeply personal in our world. Consequently, it is a joy which needs urgently to be shared today in all its fullness-– no matter the danger, no matter the ridicule, no matter the dying that it may entail.

Move on with joy of the risen Jesus. Carry on with the peace of Jesus. The world needs the Lord. May you bring the risen Jesus with you wherever fate may lead us!

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, April 5, 2015

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop

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