Jesus' "First" Words

A lot of attention is often given to peoples’ last words. In the Christian tradition, we focus on the 7 last words of Christ. During this Easter season, I think it is crucial that we pay attention to the Risen Christ’s “first” words – following the Resurrection.

“PEACE BE WITH YOU.”

These words are so important for us to hear, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. What this world needs is peace and reconciliation – healing. Our Easter joy is not just some sort of glib shouting of Alleluias. it is a deep-seated joy that cannot be taken away by anything – even death. It is a joy that recognizes pain and sorrow but believes in healing and hopes in reconciliation. The Risen Christ’s first words brought reconciliation to the brokenness of the apostles’ lives.

This Easter joy gives us the spiritual strength which, as the Holy Father said recently, “triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love.”

During this Easter season, we catechists can concentrate on equipping those we teach with the weapons of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love so that they may grow in the spiritual strength that triumphs over all forms of violence.

Peace be with you and to all those you teach.

About Joe Paprocki 2681 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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