Bishop Neil Scantlebury of Bridgetown has issued this Easter message to faithful:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Jesus Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia! The Resurrection has profound meaning for us as we deal with the challenges of today’s world: the last enemy, death, was defeated. Sin can no longer hold us captive. Jesus has broken the shackles and chains and we are set free!
However, it is not freedom to return to a sinful way of life; rather, it is freedom as the sons and daughters of God. Where sin and temptation abound, the Resurrection over-abounds with grace to assist us to say NO to the devil, the world, and the flesh.
We can assuredly summon the grace of God: we do NOT have to live a life of thievery, lies, adultery, homosexual activity, pride, anger, and murder. We are free to live our lives in joy, forgiveness, and peace, while radiating love of God and love of neighbour.
Our God is a God of second chances. As we read the Scripture, we encounter individuals who were given a new life through a second chance.
Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus three times, was given a second chance when he later vehemently professed his love for Jesus three times.
The other apostles who had run away were given a second chance as Jesus lovingly appeared to them in the upper room; and the list goes on.
So too, the Resurrection of Jesus gives us second chances. Jesus does not write us off when we sin; instead, He loves us and empowers us to rise from our emotional turmoil, the pain and wounds of abuse, and to walk triumphantly with grace and healing through the power of the Resurrection. Through the Resurrection, we are assured that God continues to walk with us and loves us, no matter what.
As Mary returned to the tomb that first Easter morning, she wondered who will roll back the stone, not realising that the stone had already been rolled back.
In a similar way, today’s “stones” in the form of fear, anxiety, and the complexities of Covid-19 and the pandemic that held us in our “tombs”, have been rolled back.
We returned to church and celebrated the Risen Christ with our brothers and sisters. In addition, and even more importantly, just like Mary was commissioned by the Risen Lord to “Go and Announce the Good News that He is risen”, we too are commissioned to announce this Good News – not only by word of mouth, but also by the way in which we live our lives.
Brothers and Sisters, always recognise and give thanks for what Jesus has done for you, your family and your friends, and share that Good News with others. Be missionaries of hope.
Show kindness: share some food, shelter, clothing, or comfort with persons in need; be patient and compassionate with your spouse, children, and colleagues.
Very importantly, spend time in prayer, praising and thanking God: make your petitions for yourself and others known to Him. I thank each of you for everything you are doing to serve others selflessly. Like the early Church, let us continue to proclaim: Jesus Christ is Risen Alleluia, Alleluia!
He is risen indeed Alleluia, Alleluia!
Sincerely yours in the Risen Jesus.