Catholics in Pakistan
Diocese of FaisalabadDiocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi

Easter, following Jesus through the ‘narrow gate’ to eternal life, Bishop Joseph Arshad

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad & Apostolic Administrator of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Diocese, send Easter greetings in the memory of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, saying that those who remain loyal to God to the end will know eternal Life.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ!
The feast of Easter venting the vibes of spiritual freshness, flurries of felicitations and plethora of joyful excitements is the most important event in the lives of the followers of the glorious Lord Jesus Christ. This hallowed event is, every year celebrated with religious fervor, euphoric sentiments and bracing feelings of spiritual comfort. The adherers of our Risen Lord feel highly blessed with happy tranquility and bursts of spiritual excitements on this great feast.

The Holy Event of Easter is the commemoration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Glorious Resurrection from the dead succeeding the Lent as the remembrance of his Passions and Sacrifice on the Cross. We especially express our faith in the Passions, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ during the period of the Lent and Easter believing that Christ has washed away the stain of our original sin by his Passions and Death on the Cross, and has confirmed our faith in resurrection of the body and life hereafter.

The realities of Christ’s Passions, Crucifixion and Resurrection stand as pillars of our faith. Christ had clearly foretold his Apostles about his upcoming Passions, Crucifixion and Resurrection to fulfill the Salvific Plan premeditated by the Heavenly Father for the sinful humanity. Jesus thus wanted his Apostles and the followers to believe these facts of God’s Plan of Salvation. That is why Jesus rebuked St. Peter on an occasion when he sympathetically wished his Master’s safety from any kind of harmful incidents.

St. Paul Says in Romans 5:8, “So is proof of God’s own love for us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners”. Whereas, certifying the fact of the Resurrection St. Paul reasons in 1-Cor 15:14 “If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is without substance and so your faith. Therefore remembrance of the Passions, Death and Resurrection of our Lord is necessary profession of our faith. In the context of our Lord’s Last Supper, St Paul acclaims in 1-Cor 15:14 saying, “Whenever, you eat this bread and drink this cup you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes”, In St. Luke it is said, “Do this in remembrance of me”.

Right from the beginning of his mission, the Pharisees, the Scribes and Sadducees began opposing Christ from right and left. They wanted him to stick to the status quo under their dictatorial authority. But failing to dissuade him from his objective, they came to the resolve to get rid of him lurking like a hungry lion for a ripe to get hold of him.

They at last seized the opportunity by buying the service of his treacherous disciple Jude of Iscariot and got hold of him. When he handed him over to them, they mercilessly tortured him, harshly scourged him, hardheartedly pinned a crown of thorns on his head, mockingly saluted him and pitilessly loaded a heavy cross on his shoulders to carry it to the Mount of Calvary. Where they cruelly nailed his body on the cross and pathetically let him die on it. They did not stop there but even blocked the aperture of his grave with a heavy boulder and sealed it, so that he would not rise from it as per his prophecy. But God smashed their malicious intrigues and shattered their dreams by ‘raising his Son from dead by his glorious power’.

Incredible manifestations were witnessed at the moment of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The weighty boulder was rolled aside by an earthquake from the opening of his grave like a straw in the wind. The glorious Lord rose from the dead. A new reality ushered. “The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked and rocks were split. By his Resurrection the tombs of many holy people were opened, who coming out from their graves entered the holy city and appeared to a number of people. The centurion together with the others guarding Jesus … were terrified and said, in truth this man was the son of God” (Matthew 27:51-54).

The Sacred Occasion of Easter is indicator of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the reward of his voluntary Sufferings and Sacrifice on the Cross for fulfilling his Heavenly Father’s the Salvific Plan. Christ attained this reward by choice and not by chance by bearing the brunt of undergoing intense suffering and by sacrificing his very life. He readily remained ‘faithful to his Heavenly Father to the point of death, even his death on the cross,’ showing that those who remain faith till the end, they will inherit eternal life. He chose the narrow door to reach his ideal. And, on the auspicious occasion of Easter, he once again reminds us to follow him and ‘Enter the narrow gate.’ In Matthew 16:24 he suggests, “If anyone want to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me”.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
On the blessed event of Easter, the triumph of Jesus on death indicates that access to spiritual maturity and achievements in life always depend on one’s confidence in his potentials, resilience of his willpower and potent stamina to achieve his target. Let us pledge on this Sacred Event that our journey toward maturity and sustainability of our Christian faith will ceaselessly continue. ‘No hardship, no distress, no persecution, no lack of food and clothing, no threat of violence will cut us off from the love of Christ. Christ’s resurrection is a peek of God’s love for humanity; God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to the world so that we all may have life in Him. We, Christians are living witnesses and are to discharge our duty to proclaim the resurrection of Christ so that all may receive His love and have life in Him.

I pray and wish all of you a very joyful and Blessed Easter.

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