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BISHOP

Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

2018 Easter Message By Most Rev. Oswald Lewis

BISHOP’S MESSAGE- APRIL 2018


With a great acclamation “He has risen indeed, Alleluia” the month of April commences. Christians all over the world celebrate the greatest mystery of their faith- the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Generally Christmas is celebrated with great external celebration. Hence many have the impression that Christmas is the greatest feast. On the contrary Easter is celebrated with less pomp and show, less external celebration. But this is the greatest feast, supported by so much evidence and history. The Resurrection of Jesus is not an imagination nor a fiction but a historical fact. Innumerable people have born witness to the historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection. In the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of Jesus, led by Peter, announce and preach that Jesus is living. “But the author of life you killed, whom God has raised up from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” (3:15) On another occasion, in his sermon Peter emphasized the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection which is also attested by witnesses. St. Peter stresses, “But God raised him on the third day and caused him to be plainly seen, not by all people, but by witnesses designated beforehand by God, that is, by us, who ate and drank with him after he had risen from the dead”. (Acts 10: 40- 41) The belief in the Resurrection was so wide spread the people of the house of Israel began to ask, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) “And day by day the Lord added to their company such as were to be saved” (Acts 2: 47) However, just as it happens in a court of law, the witness and his fellow apostles has been questioned.

St. John the Evangelist chooses the theory of the Empty Tomb to prove the Resurrection of the Lord. Mary Magdalene, who went to the tomb early morning of the third day found the stone taken away from the tomb and the tomb was empty. She informed Peter and John in haste. “They have taken the Lord from the tomb” (Jn. 20:2) When Peter and John arrived at the tomb, they too found the tomb empty. The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there proved that the Lord has risen. Again there is opposition to the theory of empty tomb too. Some believe what the Chief Priests instructed to the guards, “Say, His Disciples came by night and stole him while we were sleeping.” (Mt. 28: 13) Two facts disprove this- First, a plot of that kind could only have been carried out by men who were trying to fulfill the promise of Jesus that he would rise again. But all the evidences in the Gospel show that even though Jesus foretold his Resurrection, his disciples did not understand what he had said. Far from expecting the Resurrection of Jesus, they at first refused to believe it, as it is evident in the case of Thomas. The second fact is the linen cloths wrapped up carefully and laid aside in the tomb. The thieves would not leave evidence like that behind them. The appearance of the Risen Lord to Mary Magdalene, to the disciples at Emmaus, to Peter and his companions on various occasions proved that the Lord has risen from the dead. Thus Mary Magdalene and the eleven Apostles are the direct witnesses of the Resurrection, who prove the historicity of the fact of resurrection. Then there are thousands of others, who believed because of the preaching of the Apostles and the signs that accompanied.

Besides the historicity, there is the aspect of faith- faith in what Jesus had said and did. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus said to Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the life; he who believes in me even if he die, shall live.” (Jn. 11:25) Jesus had time and again, spoken of his death and Resurrection, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be put to death, and after three days rise again.” (Mk 8: 31, Mt. 16: 21) When the Jews demanded signs to prove his authenticity for what he was doing, Jesus gave them the signs of his Resurrection saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:19) John explained further saying, “But he was speaking of the temple of His body.” (2: 21) Such are the statements of the Lord that indicate about his own Resurrection. Thus our faith in the risen Lord does not depend on human proofs. Our faith is a gift of God. It is this gift that helps us believe in the resurrection.

Our Easter celebration is the core of our Christian faith. Our faith is not just a call to believe in a set of theory or dogma. But it is a call to see new life beyond the empty tomb. Can we see in the dead ends of our life- a new beginning; in our wounds- a healing of the risen Lord; in our misunderstandings- the light of the risen Lord’ in our tensions and stress- the peace of the risen Lord; and finally in the daily deaths- the fullness of life of the risen Lord awaiting us?

If we are rooted in the death of Christ then we will experience the fullness of life of the risen Lord, we will not be shaken by the adversities of life. As St. Paul says, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.” (2Cor 4: 8-9) Life and its adversities are testing grounds where we are invited to live our Easter. Every moment of death is an invitation to look beyond and to enter into a new life, that of the risen Lord.

Jesus is truly risen. He has risen to a new life which he wants to share with us. This is the reason why we, the people of God, sing Alleluia, a song of joy. May the risen Lord bless all our families and each one of us and fill us with the Easter joy.

A Grace filled Happy Easter to you


+ Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Joseph Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

© 2018 -Diocese Of Jaipur