Joy in the Risen Lord

“Things are looking up,” someone said to me the other day, “Spring is here, we have a new Pope and it’s almost Easter.” I had to admit his optimism was infectious. Even those who suffer from hay fever are glad when the days grow longer and warmer. And there’s a lot of joy about our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. A few nights ago I was at a gathering in Annapolis. When I merely mentioned the Pope’s name, everyone broke into applause. “He’s like a wonderful parish priest who became Pope,” one participant said to me.

It’s no secret that this isn’t the easiest time in the life of the Church. More often than the Church’s challenges and difficulties are highlighted – whether it’s the need to reform the Roman Curia, or the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal, or the drop off in Mass attendance, to name a few. No one envies what Pope Francis is facing.

Yet he begins his awesome ministry with simplicity and love. He stood calmly and serenely before the throngs of people crammed into St. Peter’s square on the night of his election and he asked them to pray for him. People who know Pope Francis personally tell me he is like that. He is strong because he trusts in the Lord and in the power of prayer.

I can’t think of a better attitude with which to approach the Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection. This is day when we celebrate a love stronger than sin and more powerful than death. Once we truly open our hearts to Jesus and He becomes real to us in prayer, then we have no doubt that He walks with us in all the challenges and difficulties of our lives. And He remains with His Church in good times and bad.

If you regularly practice your faith and you see this short reflection, please accept my warmest thanks and heartfelt prayers. We are cooperators in sharing the Lord’s truth and love with those around us. If you are among those who were baptized and received into the Church at Easter, please accept a sincere word of welcome. What a source of joy and strength you are. If you are inactive for any reason – because of doubts about the Church’s teaching, disappointment over the Church’s leadership, or simply because you don’t see how it really helps you – please accept my prayers and my invitation to re-consider the Gospel, to allow the Lord first to speak to your heart, to become real to you, and then in the light of his love to take another look at your faith.

To one and all – may you have a joyous and blessed Easter!

Archbishop William E. Lori

Archbishop William E. Lori was installed as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore May 16, 2012.

Prior to his appointment to Baltimore, Archbishop Lori served as Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., from 2001 to 2012 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 to 2001.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Lori holds a bachelor's degree from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Ky., a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg and a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977.

In addition to his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.