Was the child afraid, even in the arms of a loving adult? Even in the hands of our loving God, are we afraid? All of us encounter feelings of fear. I’ve had first-time parents tell me they start wondering, with a bit of fear, if they will be good parents. Or you and a friend have been together for a while, but now there’s some uneasiness that wasn’t there before, and you fear that you won’t be able to get through the difficulty. Or, the doctor says some tests need to be scheduled and it’s just precautionary, but you fear that bad news is coming.
In Matthew’s Gospel, on the morning of the first Easter, Jesus tells Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, “Do not be afraid.” Maybe they are afraid of the crowds who crucified Him. Maybe they fear what the future holds for them. "Do not be afraid” Jesus said. Words that give them peace. Words that give them hope. And maybe, just maybe that morning, they remembered that Jesus constantly healed people of their fears – by forgiveness of sins, by miraculous healings, by raising people from the dead, by love and mercy, by teaching and living in ways that were new. DO NOT BE AFRAID!
The story of Easter is a story that raises us up, that gives us peace, that gives us hope. We are invited to live a life of faith and allow our Risen Lord to overwhelm our fears with His presence. And just like that child on Good Friday, we feel the embrace and love and protection of our loving God. The glorious message of Jesus is that He is victorious. Jesus triumphed over sin and death. He wants us to share in the triumph, in the new life He promises. There is no reason to be afraid, and the message of Easter is a message for us to share with all, a message the world needs to hear. DO NOT BE AFRAID. GOD IS WITH US. JESUS IS RISEN. Happy Easter everyone!!