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An Easter 2024 Message from the Most Revd Dr Azad Marshall

Posted on: April 2, 2024 11:15 AM
The Most Revd Dr Azad Marshall
Related Categories: Bishop Azad Marshall, Easter, Pakistan, Raiwind

The Most Revd Dr Azad Marshall, Moderator Bishop of the Church of Pakistan (United) and Bishop of Raiwind presents his Easter message.

Today, we celebrate Easter, the feast of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Easter is far more than just a single-day celebration; it represents a profound spiritual journey of reflection, sacrifice, and joy within the Christian faith-a journey that commenced two thousand years ago. This journey starts with Lent, spanning 40 days, and culminates in Holy Week. It's during this sacred week that we witness the fulfillment of Jesus Christ's earthly mission through His ascension, marked by His sacrificial death and resurrection. Each year, this period of fasting and reflection begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Sunday, inviting Christians to deepen their spirituality and celebrate Jesus Christ's victory over death.

The 40 days leading up to Easter, known as Lent, are a time for repentance, fasting, and preparation. This period echoes Jesus Christ's own 40 days in the wilderness, where He overcame temptation and affirmed His divine authority. Lent encourages us to introspect, confess our faults before God Almighty, and seek His grace to overcome them. It's a time marked by solemnity and sacrifice, reminding us of the onset of Jesus's mission and calling us to deepen our faith through fasting, prayer, charitable acts, and a renewal of our commitment to Jesus Christ.

Holy Week, the final week of Jesus's earthly life, starts with Palm Sunday and concludes with Easter Sunday, the day of His resurrection. This pivotal week in the Christian calendar saw the fulfillment of mankind's salvation through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The crucifixion on Good Friday, although seemingly a moment of despair, showcased the immense power and profound love of God through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, reconciling humanity with God.

Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, symbolizing His triumph over death and affirming the hope of eternal life for all who believe in Him. This day transforms the sorrow of Good Friday into joy, confirming that what appears to be an end is merely the beginning when God is involved. The resurrection motivates us to celebrate Jesus Christ's victory over death and to manifest this triumph in all aspects of our lives.

As we commemorate the resurrection today, we embrace the deep joy and eternal hope it brings, making this day exceptionally significant. This joy and hope are magnified not just by the empty tomb, but also through the encounters of the resurrected Jesus with His disciples and loved ones. These meetings greatly strengthened the disciples' faith, inspiring courage, and boldness. For Saint Thomas, the Apostle to India and Pakistan, witnessing the resurrected and glorious Jesus Christ led him to exclaim, "My Lord and my God!"
Today's gospel narrative brings to light this profound joy and revelation. After overcoming the initial shock of Jesus's death and finding His tomb empty, the disciples experience Jesus's presence anew, forever altering their lives. In moments of fear and doubt, Jesus offers them peace without reproach, showcasing God as a source of comfort rather than condemnation. He reveals His wounds to His disciples, not just as proof of His resurrection, but as a testament to God's love and power.

Saint Thomas's doubt transformed into a declaration of deep faith, recognizing Jesus's true essence. Jesus commends this faith, blessing those who believe without seeing. Thomas's confession led him to preach the gospel far and wide, even reaching Taxila, now part of our beloved homeland, as a testament to the life-changing power of encountering the risen Christ. This inspires us to share the resurrection's good news and to step out of our comfort zones to spread the truth of our faith.

Today, as we celebrate Christ's resurrection, let us remember Thomas's journey from doubt to faith, from fear to a life of obedience to the Great Commandment. Like Thomas, we too are called to encounter Jesus Christ personally, to acknowledge Him as our Lord and God, and to be transformed by this encounter.

My prayer is that the joy of Christ's resurrection and His victory over death will fortify our faith and inspire us to bear witness to His resurrection, no matter the distance we must travel.

May the peace and joy of the risen Jesus Christ be with you all! On behalf of the Church of Pakistan and all the churches of the Gulf, I extend to all my fellow citizens the blessed celebration of Easter.

The Most Rev Dr Azad Marshall

Moderator/President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan and Bishop of Raiwind