Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Easter People

I come to you as a servant of Jesus Christ, and I want to speak to you about him. Christ came to bring joy: joy to children, joy to parents, joy to families and to friends, joy to workers and to scholars, joy to the sick and to the elderly, joy to all humanity. In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message and the recurring motif of the Gospels. Recall the first words of the angel to Mary: "Rejoice, O full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk 1: 28). And at the birth of Jesus, the angels announced to the shepherds: "Listen, I bring you news of great joy, joy to be shared by all people" (Lk 2: 10). Years later as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt, "the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices. 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord'!" (Lk 19: 37-38). We are told that some Pharisees in the crowd complained, saying: "Master, stop your disciples." But Jesus answered: "I tell you, if they were silent, the very stones would cry out" (Lk 19 :39-40).

Are not those words of Jesus still true today? If we are silent about the joy that comes from knowing Jesus, the very stones of our cities will cry out! For we are an Easter people and "Alleluia" is our song. With Saint Paul I exhort you: "Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again, rejoice" (Phil 4: 4).

-Saint John Paul II, Address in Harlem, NewYork (1979)

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