Dear Sisters in Christ,
I love Easter! It is an uplifting and inspirational time and pivotal in the Christian calendar.
Easter Sunday is a day of celebration – full of much rejoicing and joyful singing for all that Christ has done. This experience, however, is sharply contrasted and preceded by the heavier and more contemplative mood of Good Friday when we reflect on the suffering of Jesus as he died on the Cross. We can barely imagine all he went through. He endured the pain and humiliation so that we may be saved. He took our punishment so that we may be a forgiven people!
Fortunately for us, Jesus did not stay in the tomb! He rose again, the day after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week. We recall from the gospel story that women went to the tomb, according to the custom of the day, to anoint the body of Jesus. When they saw the tomb was empty they were afraid and confused. Just imagine their joy, however, when they were given the great news by the angel: Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, he has risen (Matthew 28:5).
As the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, we are told that Jesus met with them and instructed them: Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me (Mattew 28:10). John’s Gospel also records the beautiful encounter that Mary Magdalene had with her risen Lord and which she ecstatically shares with the disciples exclaiming: I have seen the Lord! (John 20:18). These encounters confirm that God not only included women in the experience of the resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter Day but also encouraged them to share that good news with others. Their example can be an inspiration to us today.
This Easter may the people in our communities see that we are women filled with the joy of the Lord, as we testify to the truth that the Lord has risen from the dead, that our sins are forgiven and that, because of all he has done, we may share eternity with him.
With my warmest greetings,
World President of Women’s Ministries