Paschal Epistle, 2023
Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen (Luke 24, 5-6).
It was with these divine words that the angels addressed the myrrh-bearing
women who sought the body of Christ Crucified. They address these words,
however, not just to the women, but also to us and all who read or hear Christ’s
Gospel, from then until the very end of time. They not only announce that Christ is
risen, but indicate where to find Him – not among the dead. If the myrrh-bearers
were instructed not to seek the body of the Risen Christ among the dead, nor then
should we seek Him and His mystical body among the spiritually and mystically
When we see Him, we will hear those first words that He spoke to His
disciples after His Resurrection – peace be unto you. This is the same peace which
He imparted to His disciples on the eve of His Crucifixion, saying Peace I leave with
you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you (John 14, 27). It
is this peace which neither this world nor its rulers can ever give. It was this peace
that was necessary to dispel the fear and confusion that had taken over the
disciples who had just witnessed the Crucifixion and death of their beloved Lord.
It is this peace that was and is indispensable, not just to see Him, but to recognise
Him as the truly Risen Lord, in the flesh, and not some apparition or phantom. It is
this peace that is now indispensable to overcome both our social and personal
conflicts, if we are to commune with the Risen Christ, even within the realities of
this fallen world.
Brothers and sisters, dear people of God, I wish you all the peace of the
Risen Christ, the peace which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4, 7), that, present
tribulations notwithstanding, we all may truly partake in Christ’s glorious
Resurrection, both here, and in the unwaning day of [His] Kingdom. For, as the
Apostle says, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8, 38-39).
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
John, Bishop of Caracas and South America,
The Passover of the LORD 2023.