Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, reminds us that we are a people of hope.
Hope is not the expectation that everything will turn out the way we would like. Hope is not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, pretending that all is well when it obviously is not. Hope is not sitting back, expecting that God will fix everything, and behaving as if we have no obligation to our communities or our common home.
No, hope is something deeper and more difficult.
We are in the third year of a global pandemic that has cost millions of lives, stretched our healthcare system to the breaking point, and continues to cause untold economic, personal and societal hardship. And yet we hope.
We are feeling the effects of climate change, and anticipate even greater food insecurity because of the war in Ukraine. And yet we hope.
We are witnessing crimes against humanity being committed in real time, and are living under the shadow of the threat of nuclear annihilation. And yet we hope.
We continue to see politics marked by rank partisanship, and coarseness and incivility in our interactions with one another. And yet we hope.
Hoping does not mean that the pandemic will magically disappear, or that climate change isn’t real, or that tyrants will have a sudden change of heart, or that we bear no responsibility for the common good.
Hope means trusting that God is with us, even in a pandemic, in famine and in war. Even when it seems that we’re alone.
Hope means trusting that our works of charity and justice, our worship and our prayer, and our accompanying one another really do make a difference. Even if we can’t see it here and now.
Hope looks like the women in the gospel reading we will hear at the Easter Vigil.
Rooted in their memory of Jesus, in hope, they trust the good news that Jesus is risen, though they do not see him (yet). They were the first evangelists, the first messengers of the hope of the Resurrection. Their witness is met with skepticism and ridicule. Yet, still, they hoped.
We are like them. The tomb is empty. Christ’s body remains hidden in the church gathered, in the written memory of the scriptures proclaimed, in the Eucharist, in the faces of those most in need. Like the faithful women, we are sent to share the hope of the good news. Like them, we will often face disbelief, even from those closest to us.
As we celebrate the Triduum, and the whole of Eastertime, we remember Jesus’ words and promises. Remembering, we trust, we hope, we rejoice.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport