A question was once posed to me that my years of theological education had not prepared me for. When asked by a mentor what it was that Jesus most wanted to let humanity know, what He repeated most in His ministry, I found myself poring over my memory to try and find something profound to say, with the fear of saying something foolish bubbling within me. I was gently reminded that if I were to go through the Gospels and look for the statement most often spoken by Jesus, I would find that it is this simple phrase: “do not be afraid.” This was another step in my evolving journey to leave my greatest enemy, my fear, behind me.
This Easter, we see Peter making a fearless statement of belief. He outlines in a few clauses the whole life and mission of Jesus, the man who called him out of obscurity, whom he devoted his life to. Earlier in his life, Peter had allowed his fear to lead him to lie about his connection with Jesus. It was the Easter message, the Easter experience, that turned Peter away from fear. What was discovered that first Easter day was not merely an empty tomb, or even the fact that Christ had conquered death. It was the fact that he had conquered fear, our fear, through his presence, through his guidance, and through his love. Love is the antidote to fear, and as a community of love, we are called in the Easter season to fearlessly let love shine forth, as radiant as the empty tomb.
Christ of the Resurrection, You overcame even the bonds of death itself to show Your bottomless love for us. Help us to follow in Your example by always radiating peace, love, and understanding to all of the world.
Deacon Michael Carter, S.S.E. ’12, Edmundite Campus Minister and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies
First Reading: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Gospel: John 20:1-9, Matthew 28:1-10, or Luke 24:13-35
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website