Bishop Baker’s Easter Message Our focus: Christ victorious

Every Holy Week and Easter is different. Each of them is seen through the prism of the events of history that impact each person and generation in a unique way, in a particular day and time.

This Holy Week and Easter is different for us. We approach these high holy days of the Church’s liturgical year against the backdrop of the events of Sept. 11, recent news of scandals in our Church, recent deaths of family members and friends, the prospect of the reception into our Church at the Easter Vigil ceremony of Candidates and Catechumens, and our own deepened and deepening conversion of mind and heart to the Lord.

This Holy Week and Easter are celebrated in the context of our human lives as we experience them today, guided by the great gifts the Holy Spirit has brought to us already through the Church the Lord Jesus has founded.

My priest uncle, who prays for me a lot harder since I was ordained a bishop, described well in a recent letter what I believe to be the state of our American Church in its experience of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter in the year 2002. “The Church,” he wrote, “is going through its crucifixion — its purification — in preparation for its resurrection.”

Through the grace of the first Holy Week, we are this week, united with Christ in his Passion and Death. We have the opportunity at this time to divest ourselves, by his grace, of those encumberances in our personal and communal life that keep us from reflecting Christ in all that we say and do. And to do this, we take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on Jesus, who was innocently condemned, was cruelly tortured and put to death, and victoriously rose from the dead.

May our faith-experiences of Holy Week 2002, an experience that may seem at times quite difficult and even traumatic, be an opportunity for us to encounter in a more real way the Christ of the first Holy Week, so we may also encounter in a more real, dramatic, and concrete way, the Christ of the first Easter Sunday!

A blessed, peace-filled Easter to all our dedicated laity, religious men and women, deacons, and priests of the Diocese of Charleston!