Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“Peace be with you.”
These are the words that Jesus spoke to the disciples when he visited them soon after his resurrection. In the Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Easter, we hear how he appeared in their midst even though the doors were locked because the disciples were afraid. Jesus offered his peace and told them: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed the Holy Spirit on them
I know how the disciples felt. For a year or so, we’ve had to spend much of our time behind doors because of fear — not of hostile crowds, but fear caused by a dangerous virus that threatens our health and the health of loved ones. Thanks to effective mitigation efforts, including the development of vaccines, we see reasons to be hopeful again.
Hope is at the core of the Easter season. Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you,” also are directed at us. He likewise gives us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, help us conform our lives to him and minister effectively in his name. The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word “apostellein,” which means “to send.” As Jesus sent out his apostles, he also sends us out on mission as modern-day apostles to transform our lives and our world.
Easter gives me hope that we have gained a renewed appreciation during the last year for our families, communities and parishes. Hope that we have a deeper understanding of the gift of the Eucharist. Hope that we see more clearly the needs of the poor and isolated in our communities. Hope that, inspired by the words of the risen Christ, we will reignite our mission as a diocesan Church — in-person, when possible, and in other ways when not — to be Christ’s heart of mercy, voice of hope and hands of justice.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud
Top photo: Bishop Kettler presides at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s Cathedral April 3. (Photo by Paul Middlestaedt)